Title: Orphanhood and Completion of Compulsory School Education Among Young People in South Africa: Findings From a National Representative Survey
Authors: Don Operario, Lucie Cluver, Helen Rees, Catherine MacPhail, Audrey Pettifor
Date: Feb. 21, 2008
Abstract: We examined the association of orphanhood and completion of compulsory school education among young people in South Africa. In South Africa, school attendance is compulsory through grade 9, which should be completed before age 16. However, family and social factors such as orphanhood and poverty can hinder educational attainment. Participants were 10,452 16–24-year-olds who completed a South African national representative household survey. Overall, 23% had not completed compulsory school levels. In univariate analyses, school completion was lower among those who had experienced orphanhood during school-age years, males, and those who reported household poverty. In multivariate analyses controlling for household poverty, females who had experienced maternal or paternal orphanhood were less likely to have completed school; orphanhood was not independently associated with males’ school completion. Findings highlight the need for evidence-informed policies to address the education and social welfare needs of orphans and vulnerable youth, particularly females, in South Africa.
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Title: Difference in psychosocial well-being between paternal and maternal AIDS orphans in rural China
Authors: Qun Zhao, Xiaoming Li, Xiaoyi Fang, Guoxiang Zhao, Junfeng Zhao, Xiuyun Lin, Bonita Stanton
Abstract: This study compares psychosocial well-being between paternal and maternal orphans in rural China in a sample (n = 459) of children who had lost one parent to HIV and who were in family-based care. Measures included academic marks, education expectation, trusting relationships with current caregivers, self-reported health status, depression, loneliness, posttraumatic stress, and social support. No significant differences were reported between maternal and paternal orphans, except that paternal orphans reported better trusting relationships with caregivers than maternal orphans. Children with a healthy surviving parent reported significantly better scores for depression, loneliness, posttraumatic stress, and social support than children with a sick parent. Analyses showed significance with regard to orphan status on academic marks and trusting relationships with caregivers while controlling for age, gender, surviving parent’s health status, and family socioeconomic status. Results underscore the importance of psychosocial support for children whose surviving parent is living with HIV or another illness.
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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.
Title: The impact of parental death on school outcomes: longitudinal evidence from South Africa
Author: Anne Case and Cally Ardington
Abstract: We analyze longitudinal data from a demographic surveillance area (DSA) in KwaZulu-Natal to examine the impact of parental death on children’s outcomes. The results show significant differences in the impact of mothers’ and fathers’ deaths. The loss of a child’s mother is a strong predictor of poor schooling outcomes. Maternal orphans are significantly less likely to be enrolled in school and have completed significantly fewer years of schooling, conditional on age, than children whose mothers are alive. Less money is spent on maternal orphans’ educations, on average, conditional on enrollment. Moreover, children whose mothers have died appear to be at an educational disadvantage when compared with non-orphaned children with whom they live. We use the timing of mothers’ deaths relative to children’s educational shortfalls to argue that mothers’ deaths have a causal effect on children’s educations. The loss of a child’s father is a significant correlate of poor household socioeconomic status. However, the death of a father between waves of the survey has no significant effect on subsequent asset ownership. Evidence from the South African 2001 Census suggests that the estimated effects of maternal deaths on children’s outcomes in the Africa Centre DSA reflect the reality for orphans throughout South Africa.
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