Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

First Advisor's Name

Mario De La Rosa

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mark Macgowan

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Hui Huang

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Elena Bastida

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Patria Rojas

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Latina, Latinx, older adults, mother, daughter, dyad, HIV, attachment

Date of Defense



This dissertation examines the associations between adult Latina daughters’ HIV risk behaviors and that of their older Latina mothers’ HIV risk behaviors. The central hypothesis of the study is that adult Latina daughters’ influence their older mothers’ behaviors and that such behaviors interact with the level of their attachment.

Older Latinas are a vulnerable population that face cultural risk factors, health care provider bias, and engage in low rates of HIV testing. The primary mode of HIV infection for Latinas is through heterosexual contact. Yet, traditional gender norms such as marianismo belief place pressure on Latina women to be submissive to their partners, disregard their infidelities, and not attempt to negotiate condom use, increasing the risk of HIV infection among Latinas via heterosexual sex with their primary partners.

Efforts by the CDC to increase HIV testing have emerged as a critical part of HIV prevention. However, research has indicated that older Latinas are less likely to speak to a health care provider about safe sex practices or HIV testing than their younger counterparts. Despite health care providers having strong influences over Latinas’ decisions to perform health related tests, physicians are not endorsing HIV testing for their older patients. This in part, leads to a disproportionate number of late stage diagnoses among older adults. Evidence suggest that adult daughters are a source of support and assistance in health-related issues for their aging mothers and are uniquely positioned to influence their mothers’ health-related behaviors and decisions. Additionally, mother-daughter attachment has been found to be a protective factor to other risky health behaviors.

The present study (1) Examined the association between recurrent HIV risk behaviors of adult Latina daughters and those of their older Latina mothers and (2) examined the moderating effect mother-daughter attachment have on those associations. No statistical significance was found in examining the association between adult Latina daughters and their older mothers, nor was attachment found to be a moderator on those associations. Findings show culture may be the significant factor influencing the lack of association between adult Latina daughters and their older mothers. Results add to the literature and scientific field of social work and public health. Additionally promoting studies on cultural barriers that may exist in adult Latina daughter and older mother upward communication as techniques to promote healthy behaviors among older Latinas.





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