Original article| Volume 68, ISSUE 4, P742-749, April 2021

The Impact of a Family-Based Economic Intervention on the Mental Health of HIV-Infected Adolescents in Uganda: Results From Suubi + Adherence

Published:September 24, 2020DOI:



      This study examines the extent to which three mental health measures (hopelessness, depression, and poor self-concept) are improved through a family-based economic intervention implemented among adolescents living with HIV in Uganda.


      We used repeated measures from Suubi + Adherence, a large-scale 6-year (2012–2018) longitudinal randomized controlled trial. Bivariate analyses were conducted to test for observable group differences between the intervention and control conditions. Multilevel piecewise repeated measure mixed models were then conducted to assess hypothesized time × intervention interaction in changes in hopelessness, depression, and self-concept using participant-specific follow-up intervals.


      At 24-month postintervention initiation, adolescents in the intervention condition reported a statistically significant lower hopelessness score than adolescents in the control condition (4.79 vs. 5.56; p = .018; N = 358). At 36-month follow-up, the intervention condition reported a statistically significant lower score on depression in the depression subgroup (N = 344) than the control condition (4.94 vs. 5.81; p = .029).


      The results indicate that family-based economic interventions such as Suubi + Adherence can effectively improve the mental health of adolescents living with HIV who evidenced mental health challenges at baseline. Given the promising positive effects of these interventions, at least in the short term, future studies should investigate strategies to promote the sustainability of these mental health benefits.


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