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Title: Psychosocial Issues in coping with the challenges of HIV/AIDS: The experience of AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa.
Authors: Abdella, Muzein
Advisors: -
Keywords: Ethiopia
HIV infections
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
orphans
surviving parents
extended family
household heads
intervention/ programmes
research methodology
demographic characteristics
coping mechanisms
psychosocial needs
community reaction
stigma
social isolation
HIV policy
community response
Impact on family
social problems
adoption
educational/health needs
grand parents
surviving parents
Copyright: 2003
Date Added: 26-Apr-2008
Publisher: Addis Ababa University
Abstract: Various studies have reported that loss of one or both parents to AIDS confronts children with immense Psychological and social problems and this forces them to employ various coping mechanisms to overcome the problems they encounter in their day to day lives. The present study tried to investigate the psychosocial issues that influence coping with the challenges of AIDS among AIDS orphans under the support of three organizations in Addis Ababa. A quantitative and qualitative research approach was employed to collect empirical data for the study. Seventy Six AIDS orphans (42 females and 34 males) and 34 household heads (28 females and 8 males) were drawn from the lists of Mekdim AIDS Orphans and Persons with HIV Association, OSSA and Abebech Gobena orphanage and school using systematic simple random sampling in the case of the former and purposive sampling in the latter two cases. Additional data was sought from key informants from the above mentioned organizations and community groups who were selected purposefully. The finding of the study show that nearly all orphans in the present study reported one or more emotional experiences and Psychological problem they sustain following the death of their parents to AIDS. These include: crying, anger, fear, saddeness and grief. The data indicated that grief was found to be a major problem experienced by a vast majority of females and the majority of males indicating unresolved grief among the respondents which warrants appropriate intervention. Further statistical analysis yield that sex was not found to contribute significantly across the emotional experiences between the sexes.However,it contribute significantly in the case of crying (at p. 0.005 level) -with girls constituting a higher proportion in crying than did boys. The study indicated that AIDS orphans face stigma, social isolation and mistreatment which led a considerable number of them to feel hopeless,lose self confidence and detach themselves from social activities. A three level likert type scale further shows that the support and sympathy of the community is low. The study found that AIDS orphans employ various coping mechanisms to overcome their psychosocial problems. A vast majority of them heavily depend on the support of organizations, and nearly all of them maintain their family unit to cope with their situation. A large proportion of orphans are engaged in economic activities to complement the income they get from organizations, and a considerable number of AIDS orphans drop from school and similar proportion also curtail their meals as part of the measure to cope with their declining economic condition. A considerable number of orphans have benefited from the peer support programme organized in one organization through sharing experiences and this helped them to lessen their grief. Denial of the cause of parental death is also found to be used as a coping mechanism by a considerable number of orphans to avoid stigma and social isolation. The implication of the study is that organizations who are catering to the social needs of AIDS orphans should also focus on their psychological /emotional needs as well by strengthening their counselling services and by raising the awareness of the community about the mode of transmission of HIV/AIDS and the plight of AIDS orphans so that people take the initiative themselves in their immediate communities to support orphans. This is highly essential because when favorable conditions are created there is a good chance that these children may be able to cope relatively well with the trauma of losing their parents.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/959
Appears in:Thesis - Educational Psychology

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