The loneliness of HIV-infected low-income mothers : implications for health workers

De Villiers, Elsa Herbst (2001-12)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In a qualitative study, a convenience sampling technique was used to ensure a study population of eleven HIV-infected low-income women. These participants were all direct referrals from municipal clinics and the provincial hospital. The criteria for participation were HIV sero-positivity and being a mother of a child or children. Semi-structured open-ended individual interviews were conducted, transcribed and then analysed, using grounded theory. Additional data were gained by using a standardised psychological measure, the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS). The two main types of loneliness that these women experienced were loneliness of emotional isolation and loneliness of social isolation. These terms can be defined as the absence of a close emotional attachment and lack of support and understanding of intimate others (emotional isolation) and the absence of an accessible and engaging social network and lack of social support and acceptance (social isolation). The most significant causes of loneliness for these women were stigmatisation; fear and/or shame of rejection and victimisation; fear of losing custody or care of their children; fear of losing financial and emotional support; and using secrecy and non-disclosure as main coping strategy for their emotional and physical safety. Experiences of emotional isolation were also provoked or enhanced by the lack of involvement and support from their partners and the partners' denial of the illness and its consequences. Experiences of social isolation were also caused or increased by the general lack of HIV/AIDS information, education and support services. Significantly, it was found that for most of the women the psychological effect of loneliness was primarily a depressed mood as well as using negative coping mechanisms, such as alcohol abuse and further withdrawal from important others. The psychosocial needs of these women were also significantly similar. Broad guidelines are offered for health workers in assisting/supporting HIV-infected low-income mothers in general, based on the core needs of the women in this study; to be listened to and heard, understanding and acceptance, and social support.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In 'n kwalitatiewe studie is 'n gerieflikheidsteekproeftegniek gebruik om 'n studiepopulasie van elf MIV-geïnfekteerde lae-inkomste-vroue te verseker. Hierdie deelnemers was almal direkte verwysings van munisipale klinieke en die provinsiale hospitaal. Die kriteria vir deelname was MIV-sero-positiwiteit en moeder wees van 'n kind of kinders. Semigestruktureerde oop individuele onderhoude is gevoer, getranskribeer en toe ontleed deur gegronde teorie te gebruik. Bykomende data is verkry met behulp van 'n gestandaardiseerde psigometriese instrument, die "Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (RULS)". Die twee hooftipes eensaamheid wat hierdie vroue ervaar het was eensaamheid van emosionele isolasie en eensaamheid van sosiale isolasie. Hierdie terme kan omskryf word as die afwesigheid van 'n nou emosionele band en gebrek aan ondersteuning en begrip van intieme ander (emosionele isolasie) en die afwesigheid van 'n toeganklike en inskakelende sosiale netwerk en gebrek aan sosiale ondersteuning en aanvaarding (sosiale isolasie). Die beduidendste oorsake van eensaamheid vir hierdie vroue was stigmatisasie; vrees en/of skaamte vir verwerping en viktimisasie; vrees vir verlies van voogdyskap of sorg van hul kinders; vrees vir die verlies van finansiële en emosionele ondersteuning; en die gebruik van geheimhouding en nie-openbaarmaking as belangrikste hanteringstrategie vir hul emosionele en fisieke veiligheid. Ervarings van emosionele isolasie is ook uitgelok of versterk deur die gebrek aan betrokkenheid en ondersteuning van hul lewensmaats en die lewensmaats se ontkenning van die siekte en sy gevolge. Ervarings van sosiale isolasie is ook veroorsaak of verhoog deur die algemene gebrek aan inligting, opvoeding en ondersteuningsdienste ten opsigte van MIVNIGS. 'n Betekenisvolle bevinding was dat vir die meeste van die vroue die psigologiese effek van eensaamheid primêr 'n depressiewe gemoedstemming was sowel as die gebruik van negatiewe hanteringstrategieë soos alkoholmisbruik en verdere onttrekking van belangrike ander. Die psigososiale behoeftes van hierdie vroue was ook beduidend eenders. Breë riglyne word voorgestel vir gesondheidswerkers wat betref die bystaan/ondersteuning van MIV-geïnfekteerde lae-inkomste-moeders in die algemeen, gebaseer op die kernbehoeftes van die vroue in hierdie studie; om na geluister en gehoor te word, begrip en aanvaarding, en sosiale ondersteuning.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52546
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