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Emotional bonds and social support exchange between men living with HIV infection and their mothers.

Uphold CR, Shehan CL, Bender JM, Bender BS. Emotional bonds and social support exchange between men living with HIV infection and their mothers. American Journal of Men's Health. 2012 Mar 1; 6(2):97-107.

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Men infected with HIV are often faced with caregiving responsibilities of aging, ill parents, while simultaneously looking for support from their parents in dealing with their own health problems. Unfortunately, the reciprocal roles of HIV-positive adult sons and aging mothers as caregivers have not been examined. To address this gap in the literature, HIV-positive men (n = 118) answered open-ended questions about the support they exchanged with their mothers, completed the Depth of Relationships Inventory, and rated the importance of health-related assistance between themselves and their mothers. The men viewed themselves as important providers of both instrumental and emotional support to their mothers. Men perceived their mothers to be significant providers of emotional support but only moderately important in providing instrumental support. About a third of the men responded that the help they provided and received from the mothers in managing each other''s health and staying healthy was extremely important. Men regarded their relationships with their mothers as one of their most important social relationships. Non-White men rated the quality of their mother-son relationships more highly, exchanged more instrumental support, and provided more emotional support to their mothers than White men. Men who disclosed their HIV-positive status to their mothers rated the importance of the help they received from their mothers in managing their illnesses higher than men who had not disclosed.

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