Title: Psychological Distress in Orphan, Vulnerable Children and Non-Vulnerable Children in High Prevalence HIV/AIDS Communities
Authors: Killian, B. and K. Durrheim.
Abstract: The degree of psychological distress and access social support is investigated in children (n = 741) living in nine high prevalence HIV/AIDS communities. They comprised (1) vulnerable, maternally-orphaned (n = 319); (ii) vulnerable and not orphaned (n = 276); and (iii) typically developing (n = 146). The following psychometric tests were administered: The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (Townsend, 2002); the Reynolds Depression Scale for Children (Reynolds, 1989); and the Social Support Scale (Beale Spencer, Cole, Jones & Phillips Swanson, 1997). Primary caregivers completed the Conners’ Parent Rating Scale (Conners, Parker, Sitarenios, & Epstein, 1998) and an Adversity Index (Killian, 2004a) to establish the vulnerability status of each child. The data were analysed to distinguish the groups from each other regarding profiles of distress. The findings suggest that vulnerable children, be they orphaned or not, manifest similar degrees of emotional distress and perceived themselves as unable to access social support. Interventions should address the needs of both orphans and other vulnerable children, without prioritising the needs of orphans over other vulnerable children.
Citation: Killian, B. and K. Durrheim (2008). “Psychological Distress in Orphan, Vulnerable Children and Non-Vulnerable Children in High Prevalence HIV/AIDS Communities.” Journal of Psychology in Africa 18(3): 421-429.