A phenomenological inquiry into the lived experience of social support for Black South African women living with HIV

Smyth, Laura Diane (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2004-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The HIV/AIDS pandemic is steadily growing throughout the world. Global estimates have revealed that forty million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Approximately 5.3 millions South Africans have been indicated to be living with the illness and within South Africa HIV/AIDS is having catastrophic effect. The burden of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has not fallen evenly. In South Africa, African women have borne the brunt of the illness. This study presents a focus on developing more effective ways of caring and therefore impacting the health of Black South African women living with HIV. Social support understood broadly as different aspects of relationships in which needs are met and individuals feel cared for, loved and valued (Cobb, cited in Friedland, McColl, & Renwick, 1996) was indicated as having a powerful impact on health. For this reason social support was considered crucial in the development of effective strategies of care. Studies examining the role of social support in the management of chronic illness such as HIV/AIDS underscore the ability of social support to provide a sense of health within illness. From within a South African context, however, a gap in social support research has been apparent. Although frameworks for understanding social support as a broad concept were available, social support research failed to provide adequate foundations for understanding social support in terms that could implicate strategic intervention and contribute to the development of more effective strategies of care. The aim of this study was to develop a deeper understanding of the lived experience of social support for a sample of nine Black South African women living with HIV. The study was conducted qualitatively within a phenomenological paradigm. A phenomenological paradigm encouraged participants, through in-depth interviewing, to provide information based on their own lived experiences of social support. The interviews were then transcribed and analysed using rigorous data analysis methods. Initial findings were presented to the sample and then developed further. Final findings were written up as rich descriptions of the lived experience of social support for the sample. Fourteen themes emerged as comprising constituent aspects of social support. Descriptions of the fourteen themes, including health care professionals, partners, family/children, support groups, meeting others needs, story telling, Memory Box Project, media and books, organisations within the community, activities, the community, being involved in research and spirituality, provide rich understandings of the interpersonal relationships constituting the lived experience of social support for the sample. A polarity was identified in the lived experience of social support. Interactions had the potential to be satisfactory and supportive as well as non-supportive. The research findings are discussed within a greater theoretical body of knowledge and considered in light of three contexts considered influential in impacting the lived experience of social support. The study assisted in the development of a culturally contextual understanding of the lived experience of social support. This understanding has implications for effective intervention strategies seeking to purposefully care for those living with HIV in South Africa

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die MIV/vigs-pandemie neem wêreldwyd steeds toe. Internasionale beramings dui daarop dat sowat 40 miljoen mense tans met MIV/vigs saamleef. Altesame 5,3 miljoen Suid-Afrikaners ly na raming aan die siekte en dit het ’n katastrofiese uitwerking. Wat bevolkingsgroepe betref, is die siekte egter nie eweredig versprei nie. In Suid-Afrika is dit die swart bevolkingsgroep, en in die besonder die swart vrou, wat die meeste deur die siekte geaffekteer word. Hierdie studie fokus op die potensiële ontwikkeling van doeltreffender versorgingsmetodes wat dan ook die lewensgehalte sou kon verbeter van swart Suid-Afrikaanse vroue met MIV/vigs. Sosiale steun het ’n sterk invloed op gesondheid. Hierdie steun verwys na die verskillende aspekte van verhoudings wat geaffekteerde individue vervuld, versorg en gelief laat voel (Cobb soos aangehaal in Friedland, McColl, & Renwick, 1996). Daarom word sosiale steun as belangrik beskou in die ontwikkeling van doeltreffende versorgingstrategieë. Verskeie studies oor die rol van sosiale steun in die bestuur van chroniese siektes soos MIV/vigs, bevestig dat sosiale steun ’n deurslaggewende rol speel in die vestiging van ’n gevoel van gesondheid binne ’n siektetoestand. Binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks blyk daar egter ‘n gebrek aan navorsing te wees wat betref die rol van sosiale steun. Hoewel daar wel werk beskikbaar is wat die rol van sosiale steun as ’n breë konsep verklaar, bied navorsing op hierdie gebied nog nie ’n geskikte grondslag vir ’n beter begrip van sosiale steun wat betref strategiese intervensie en die bydrae wat dit kan lewer tot doeltreffender versorgingstrategieë nie. Die doel van hierdie studie was om ‘n groter begrip te ontwikkel vir sosiale steun soos beleef deur ’n steekproef van nege swart Suid-Afrikaanse vroue met MIV. Dit studie is kwalitatief uitgevoer vanuit ’n fenomenologiese paradigma. Deur die voer van diepte-onderhoude binne hierdie fenomenologiese paradigma is deelnemers aangemoedig om inligting te verskaf oor hulle eie ervaring van sosiale steun. Die onderhoude is vervolgens getranskribeer en geanaliseer deur middel van streng data-analise-metodes. Daar is terugvoering oor die aanvanklike bevindinge gegee aan die vroue in die steekproef en die data is hierna nog verder ontwikkel. Die finale bevindinge is in die studie weergegee as ’n omvangryke beskrywing van die steekproef se deurleefde ervaring van sosiale steun. Veertien temas is geïdentifiseer wat kernaspekte van sosiale steun omvat. Hierdie temas sluit onder meer in gesondheidsorgwerkers, metgeselle, familie/gesinne/kinders, steungroepe, behoeftevoorsiening, die vertel van stories, die "Memory Box"-projek, die media en boeke, gemeenskapsorganisasies, aktiwiteite, die gemeenskap, betrokkenheid by navorsing, en geesteslewe. ’n Beskrywing van die veertien temas het bygedra tot ’n veel groter begrip van die interpersoonlike verhoudings wat deel uitgemaak het van die deelnemers se beleefde ervaring van sosiale steun. Daar is egter ’n polariteit geïdentifiseer ten opsigte van hierdie beleefde ervaring van sosiale steun. Dit het geblyk dat interaksie potensieel bevredigend en ondersteunend van aard kan wees, maar ook afbrekend. Die navorsingsresultate is verder bespreek binne ‘n uitgebreide teoretiese kennisraamwerk en is beskou in die lig van drie kontekste wat as belangrik geag word betreffende die invloed daarvan op die beleefde ervaring van sosiale steun. Hierdie studie het bygedra tot die ontwikkeling van groter begrip binne kulturele konteks vir die beleefde ervaring van sosiale steun. Hierdie begrip is belangrik vir doeltreffende intervensie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/16444
This item appears in the following collections: