Teens and Adults Learning to Communicate (TALC: LA)

Project TALC was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to evaluate the efficacy of a family-based intervention over time and to contrast the life adjustments of HIV-affected families and their non-HIV-affected neighbors in the current treatment era. Mothers living with HIV (MLH; n = 339) and their school-age children (n = 259) were randomly assigned to receive a behavioral intervention or standard care as the control condition. MLH and their children were compared to non-HIV-affected families recruited at neighborhood shopping markets.

Targeted Risk Group: 

HIV-positive mothers and their adolescent children

Published Journal Articles:

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Links to Interventions, Training Manuals, etc. : 

 Phase 1 – Taking Care Of Myself

Parents’ Curriculum

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Phase 2 – Illness

Parents’ Curriculum

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 Adolescents’ Curriculum

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Phase 3 – Adjustment

New Caregivers and Teens’ Curriculum

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Young Adults’ Curriculum

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Intervention Model: 

Mothers and their adolescents attended a 16-session cognitive behavioral intervention over eight weeks. For MLH, intervention goals aimed to: 1) improve parenting while ill (i.e., reduce family conflict, improve communication, clarify family roles); 2) reduce mental health symptoms; 3) reduce sexual and drug transmission acts; and 4) increase medical adherence and assertiveness with medical providers. For adolescents, the intervention goals were to: 1) improve family relationships; 2) reduce mental health symptoms; 3) reduce multiple problem behaviors (e.g., drug use, criminal justice acts, school problems, teenage pregnancy); and 4) school retention.

Research Methods:

In a random assignment study, families assigned to take part in Project TALC were compared with families assigned to a control group on mental health and health behaviors, including sexual behavior and substance use. Both intervention and control families were compared to a neighborhood cohort, matched on sociodemographics. Because study participants were followed over two years, longitudinal random effect regression models were used to test the efficacy of the intervention.

Surveys and Scales Used:

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Local Significance: 

There was a lack of significant findings for an intervention effect on HIV-transmission behaviors and mental health. HIV-transmission behaviors were low to begin with and participants had little room for improvement. The populations affected by the HIV epidemic in the U.S. have shifted over the past number of years since a similarly mounted intervention in New York City led to improvements. HIV interventions in the U.S. need to shift their focus to persons living with HIV who are experiencing substantial problems.

International Significance:

While the focus of U.S.-based HIV interventions need to shift, interventions for the general HIV population may be effective outside the U.S.