[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The growing global epidemic of HIV/AIDS has a significant impact on the lives of both people living with HIV/AIDS and their family members including children. Children of parents with HIV/AIDS may experience an increased responsibility of caregiving in family. However, limited data are available regarding the caregiving experience and its impact on psychosocial well-being among these children. This study was designed to address these issues by using qualitative data collected from children affected by HIV/AIDS in China.
The qualitative data were collected in 2006 in rural central China, where many residents were infected with HIV/AIDS through unhygienic blood collection procedures. In-depth individual interviews were conducted by trained interviewers with 47 children between 8 and 17 years of age who had lost one or both parents to AIDS.
Findings of this study suggest that many children affected by AIDS had experienced increased responsibilities in housework and caregiving for family members. Such caregiving included caring for self and younger siblings, caring for parents with illness and caring for elderly grandparents. Positive impacts from children's participation in family caregiving included personal growth and emotional maturity. Negative consequences included physical fatigue, psychological fear and anxiety and suboptimal schooling (dropping out from school, repeated absence from school and unable to concentrate in class).
While the increased caregiving responsibilities among children reflected some cultural beliefs and had some positive effect on personal growth, the caregiving experience generally negatively effected the children's physical and mental health and schooling. The findings in the current study suggest that community-based caregiving support is necessary in areas with high prevalence of HIV and limited resources, especially for the families lacking adult caregivers. In addition, social and psychological support should be made available for children participating in family caregiving.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2009 · Child Care Health and Development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the psychological impact of sibling separation among children who lost both of their parents to AIDS and were placed in group care or kinship care settings in rural China.
Comparative analysis of cross-sectional survey data among 155 children among whom 96 experienced sibling separation. Trauma symptoms (Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Post-traumatic stress, Dissociation, Sexual concerns) were compared between the AIDS orphans who experienced sibling separation and those who did not using analysis of variance and multivariate analysis of covariance.
Among the participants (47.7% girls) with an average age of 12.4 years, univariate and multivariate analyses showed that separation from siblings was associated with significantly higher scores in anxiety, depression, anger and dissociation before or after controlling for gender, age, care arrangement, number of household replacement, trusting relationship with the current caregivers and perceived quality of current living condition. Sibling separation among orphans was not associated with level of post-traumatic stress and sexual concerns.
AIDS orphans separated from their siblings suffered from increased psychological distress compared with those who remained with their siblings. The data in the current study suggest that care arrangement for AIDS orphan should include accommodating the siblings together or providing them with opportunities for frequent contact and/or communication with each other. Appropriate psychological counselling should be given to those orphans experiencing sibling separation.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2009 · Child Care Health and Development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The China Ministry of Health has estimated that there are at least 100,000 AIDS orphans in China. The UNICEF China Office estimates that between 150,000 and 250,000 additional children will be orphaned by AIDS over the next five years. However, limited data are available regarding the sociodemographic characteristics, care arrangements, barriers to appropriate grief resolution and psychological problems among AIDS orphans in China. In this article, we review secondary data and reports from scientific literature, government, non-governmental organisations and public media regarding children orphaned by AIDS in China to address their living situation, bereavement process and psychological problems. Our review suggests that AIDS orphans in China are living in a stressful environment, with many orphans struggling with psychological problems and unmet basic needs such as food, shelter, education and medical care. Based on our review, we suggest that future studies should address the psychosocial needs of AIDS orphans in China and develop health promotion programmes to mitigate the negative impact of parental death on the physical and psychosocial well-being of these orphans.