Title page for ETD etd-07082009-084041

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Antoniades Savopoulos, Anastasia
Email anastaz.a@gmail.com
URN etd-07082009-084041
Document Title Exploring the experiences of mothers after participating in a mother-child interaction intervention, within an HIV context
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof M J Visser Committee Chair
  • case study
  • systemic perspective
  • system
  • family structures
  • family
  • effects of HIV
  • mother-child interaction
  • resilience
  • HIV-positive mothers
  • mother-child intervention
  • second-order cybernetics
  • first-order cybernetics
  • qualitative
  • circular questioning
Date 2009-09-01
Availability unrestricted

This research was conducted as part of the formative evaluation of a mother-child interaction intervention, which was incorporated into the Kgolo Mmogo pilot study at the Kalafong Hospital in Tshwane (South Africa). The purpose of the intervention was to encourage the development of parenting skills and to improve mother-child relationships within an HIV context over a six-month period. By promoting more effective interaction between mother and child, child resilience could be enhanced and children could learn the necessary coping skills that would help them deal with the challenges posed by HIV and other life events.

The aim of the study was to generate a systemic understanding of families affected by HIV/AIDS. The study explored (1) the effect of HIV on family interaction and (2) the effect of the mother-child interaction intervention on family interaction from the perspective of HIV-infected mothers. The theoretical framework chosen for the study was of a systemic nature and the standpoints, as set out by the Milan family therapy team, were implemented. Ten months after the intervention, four of the HIV-positive mothers who had participated in the intervention were interviewed and encouraged to share their experiences. Circular questions were employed in the interviews as a means of gathering data. A qualitative design was therefore the best option for this study.

The research findings of this study coincide with previous literature and research findings; thus, the findings of this study have been consolidated. The current study findings support the importance of bridging the distance that is created by HIV in family relations, particularly between mother and child. Newly-diagnosed mothers often become stuck in their own processes and distance themselves from others in order to make sense of their situation. The broader social stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS contribute further to the sense of isolation that HIV-positive women experience. Often, women perceive HIV to be a disruptive force in their relationships with their partners and children, which creates tension, secrets and uncertainty within the family. HIV-infected mothers generally feel that keeping secrets from their children protects them from being traumatized by the social stigmas surrounding HIV/AIDS. Some HIV-positive mothers also feel that an emotional distance will shield their children from the pain of losing their mother. Because they are grappling with many negative feelings, such as anger and frustration, many HIV-positive mothers resort to strict disciplinary measures and avoid spending time with their children. The children misinterpret their motherís behaviour and react in a manner that the mother perceives to be both disrespectful and disobedient, thus creating a recurring cycle in which both mothers and children become stuck.

The participating mothers perceived the mother-child interaction intervention to focus on their emotional, physical, cognitive and behavioural needs as well as the needs of their children. The mothers experienced the intervention as having been particularly helpful to them and their children. They perceived themselves to be warmer, more supportive, more accepting and to have found meaning in their lives. In addition they felt that their children had begun to behave themselves and were also less avoidant of them. It enhanced their understanding of one another, and strengthened their bond so that they can depend on each other in times of difficulty.

Copyright © 2009, 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:

Antoniades Savopoulos, A 2009, Exploring the experiences of mothers after participating in a mother-child interaction intervention, within an HIV context, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07082009-084041/ >


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