Parental Health Expectations and Children's Educational Attainment in Rural Malawi
Monica J. Grant, University of Pennsylvania
Studies on the relationship between HIV/AIDS and children’s educational attainment largely focus on the direct impacts of parental illness and death, overlooking the potential indirect impact that parental perceptions of the HIV epidemic may have on children’s school enrollment. I combine analysis of the 2004 and 2006 survey rounds of the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP) with findings from qualitative interviews with parents collected in summer 2006. The analysis examines the role of the parents' health expectations and concern about HIV/AIDS, their perception of HIV prevalence in the community, and their knowledge of their HIV status. Preliminary findings suggest that parental uncertainty about HIV is associated with lower levels of school participation. Interventions that target this uncertainty, such as HIV testing programs, may make a significant contribution to maintaining children’s educational attainment in communities affected by HIV/AIDS.