Fears of South African children affected by HIV/AIDS
Although fears are part of normal development, the living environment of HIV/AIDS affected children is conducive to the development of particular fears. This study examined the fears of 39 South African children (7-13 years) living in a low socioeconomic community with a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The aim was to consider if these children were a special population with regard to their fears. The Free Option Method was used to identify the children's fears. Data were analyzed by means of a priori thematic analysis, followed by a qualitative analysis. The expressed fears could be described with fear categories previously reported by normative samples. The wild animal category and specifically snake fears were reported most. The second analysis revealed a substantial minority of fears reflecting life in the South African HIV/AIDS affected context. It was concluded that the children represented a normative population who experienced particular fears due to their special circumstances. Further investigation of HIV/AIDS affected children's fears and related psychological issues is recommended. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.