Title page for ETD etd-03112005-080007

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Barnard, Jakoba Petronella
Email kobiebarnard@absamail.co.za
URN etd-03112005-080007
Document Title MIV-positiewe huiswerksters se konstruering van hul ervarings van MIV en VIGS binne die werkgewersgesin (Afrikaans)
Degree PhD (Educational Psychology)
Department Educational Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Dr L Ebersöhn Co-Supervisor
Prof I Eloff Supervisor
  • emosie
  • kwalitatiewe navorsing
  • domestic helper
  • house worker
  • qualitative research
  • huiswerkster
  • silence
  • stilte
  • agency
  • konstruktivisties-interpretatiewe
  • constructivist-interpretative
  • agentskap
  • HIV-positive
  • MIV-positief
  • MIV and VIGS
  • grondslag teorie
  • helper
  • HIV and AIDS
  • grounded theory
  • emotion
Date 2004-10-09
Availability unrestricted
This study focused on HIV-positive domestic helpers and the constructions of their experiences in their employing families. A literature survey established the primary theoretical assumption for the study that acknowledges the domestic helper as an integral part of the extended family of the employer.

The study sought to generate grounded theory through content analysis, qualitative research methods and the constructivist-interpretative paradigm. Semi-structured interviews with open questions were conducted with 14 HIV-positive domestic helpers. Responses captured in audio recordings were transcribed and analysed. The textual data was then analysed and interpreted based on open, axial and selective coding. From this coding process four themes emerged as the ways in which HIV-positive domestic helpers construct their experiences within the families. The results from this study indicate that they construct their experiences around:

  • the HIV & AIDS diagnosis,
  • their HIV & AIDS status,
  • their emotions and
  • their needs.

A particularistic scrutiny of the data and research results indicate that participants experience that visible symptoms of HIV & AIDS may forewarn employers when domestic helpers are HIV-positive. These domestic helpers experience negative attitudes, reduction of job content and retrenchment with concomitant financial repercussions. However, the participants in this study indicated that the attitude of employers' children towards them remain positive after diagnosis.

In terms of the way in which they construct their experience around emotion, results indicate that they experience complex emotions including shock, uncertainty, loneliness, unworthiness, guilt, rejection, concern, anger, shamefulness and depression. Yet, they also present high levels of acceptance and spiritual growth. In terms of needs, they indicate the need for HIV-friendly workplaces and medical care. They specifically desire employers to help care for their children when they pass away.

A comprehensive appraisal of the research results points towards two key aspects: the lack of agency that is prevalent in this group of participants and the silences that is evident from their narratives. The narratives of the HIV-positive domestic helpers indicate that they easily negate agency of their lives to their employers and concomitantly that the lack of agency hampers their ability to retain a sense of worthiness and responsibility for their lives.

The results from this study also ensconce silences in many guises. Silences were reflected:

  • through semantic values and linguistic nuances,
  • regarding acts or omissions of employers,
  • regarding communications,
  • regarding needs and
  • regarding reduction of job content

In rare instances, the construction of experiences of some participants confirmed the ability of HIV-positive domestic helpers to accept agency of their circumstances. In summary, HIV-positive domestic helpers in this study experienced a lack of agency, they report narratives of silences, but they also reflect elements of healing, growth and spiritual deepening when they construct their experiences of HIV & AIDS in their families of employment.

Copyright 2004, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Barnard, JP 2004, MIV-positiewe huiswerksters se konstruering van hul ervarings van MIV en VIGS binne die werkgewersgesin (Afrikaans), PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-03112005-080007 / >

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