Vrese en hanteringstrategieë van Wes-Kaapse MIV/VIGS-geaffekteerde kinders en versorgers : ‘n normatiewe populasie met ‘n spesiale leefwêreld

Zwemstra, Pieter Jacobus (2008-12)

Thesis (MSc (Psychology))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


As part of the South African government’s strategy to support those with HIV/AIDS and their relatives, HIV/AIDS service points have been established at Public Health Facilities. An increasing number of HIV-positive children and their caretakers receive treatment here. Indirectly the paediatric patients’ uninfected caretakers and the adult patients’ children also come into contact with the Public Health System during visits. The HIV-positive and uninfected children and caretakers form a heterogeneous HIV/AIDS-affected population, which may experience particular fears due to their particular circumstances. Circumstance-particular coping strategies may be necessary. Children do, however, also experience normative childhood fears and their coping strategies display developmental characteristics. Direct and indirect learning experiences furthermore may contribute to children’s experience of fear. The participants were 40 HIV/AIDS-affected children (M = 9.4 years; HIV-positive = 30.0%) and their caretakers (N = 34; M = 36.7 years; HIV-positive = 76.5%) who had been in contact with the Public Health System of the Western Cape Province, South Africa. There were five sub-objectives. Regarding the children the objectives were to consider, against the background of normative literature, whether the target group was a special population regarding their (1) fears and (2) coping strategies. Furthermore the objective was (3) to get to know the children’s world through their learning experiences. Concerning the caretakers the objectives were to explore their personal (4) fears and (5) coping strategies. In addition the caretakers’ perceptions about their children’s fears and coping strategies were gathered. The study was explorative and a mixed methodological research model was used. Data were gathered through individual interviews. The children also completed the Goodenough-Harris Drawing Test (GHD) and the caregivers a demographic questionnaire. Data were analysed by using a combination of qualitative and quantitative strategies. The children reported normative childhood fears, mainly of wild animals. A substantial minority of the children reported fears connected to crime, an unsafe transport system, death, illness, and HIV/AIDS and special circumstances were therefore identified. The children’s coping strategies were circumstance-specific and problem-focused avoidance reported most. Living in a modern society these children’s fears have also been influenced by for instance television. The fears and coping strategies reported by the children and their care-takers’ perceptions thereof, concurred. The caretakers’ personal fears mainly were connected to psycho-social needs and social roles, which stand central during adulthood. Specifically fears about the children’s welfare were reported most. The caretakers reported crime and animalrelated fears similar to their children. A search for social support as well as preventative action were the coping strategies that were reported most. A noteworthy preventative-action strategy seemed to be healthy eating habits, given the controversy about natural products being used as HIV/AIDS treatment within the South African context. The findings were integrated within a systems-theoretical framework. The fears and coping strategies of the HIV/AIDSaffected children and their caretakers were interpreted to be the result of an interaction between their personal characteristics and their social environment.

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