Risk and Resilience in Orphaned Adolescents Living in a Community Affected by AIDS

Authors: Lauren G. Wild, Alan J. Flisher and Brian A. Robertson

Date:  March 2013

Abstract: The AIDS pandemic has resulted in a dramatic rise in the number of orphans in South Africa. This study was designed to investigate the associations between family, peer, and community factors and resilience in orphaned adolescents. Self-report questionnaires were administered verbally to 159 parentally bereaved adolescents (aged 10-19) in an economically deprived urban area. Questionnaires included measures of depression, anxiety, and self-esteem. The results of a hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicate that cumulative stress exposure, losing a parent to a cause other than HIV and AIDS, and being cared for by a nonrelative were associated with an increased risk of internalizing symptoms. Family regulation and respect for individuality, peer connection, and community connection and regulation were significantly associated with greater emotional resilience. The findings support a main-effects model of resilience in which risk factors and protective factors contribute additively to the prediction of the outcome, without interaction.

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