Document Type Master's Dissertation Author Mundell, Jonathan Peter email@example.com URN etd-08042008-182140 Document Title The impact of structured support groups for pregnant women living with HIV Degree Master of Arts Department Psychology Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof M J Visser Supervisor Keywords
- pregnant women
- support groups
- South Africa
Date 2007-04-16 Availability unrestricted Abstract
In this study, the impact of a structured support group programme developed for HIV-positive women in South Africa is assessed. The programme has been developed to fit the needs of HIV-positive women in South Africa, using an action research approach. The study utilises a quasi-experimental design, with an intervention group and a control group taking part in both a pre- and post-intervention interview. The participantís experiences and the impact of the intervention were assessed using a multi-method approach. The program was assessed quantitatively in terms of its impact on the participantsí levels of depression, self-esteem, coping, social support, disclosure, personal stigma, perceived community stigma, coping and knowledge. Qualitatively, participant feedback regarding their experience of the support groups was assessed to provide complementary data to augment the results from the quantitative analyses.
Participants were recruited for the study through the Serithi project, and these women were invited to take part in the support group programme. Over a period of one year, 156 women were recruited for the study, 72 of whom agreed to participate in the groups (intervention group), with the remaining 84 women declining the invitation, forming the control group. Ten support groups were implemented during this time-period. Following the implementation of the program, the results from the pre-intervention assessment were analysed and compared, so as to acknowledge any differences that may have existed between the groups prior to their involvement in the study. Post-intervention results were then analysed and compared, in order to statistically determine the impact of the structured support group programme. Participantsí qualitative feedback regarding their participation in the intervention, and their perceived personal benefits from their involvement was analysed using content analysis.
Although some differences were identified between the two groups in the pre-intervention analysis, the control group did seem to be a valid comparison. Findings of the research indicate that the intervention group showed significantly higher positive coping, self-esteem, levels of positive support and HIV-related support, and disclosure compared to the control group. Interesting results were found regarding depression and knowledge levels, although these were not found to be significant. No differences were identified between the groups in terms of negative coping, negative support or the experience of stigma. It was concluded that support groups can be effective in assisting HIV-positive women in their journey toward psychosocial adjustment to their HIV infection. It is important, however, that interventions aimed at HIVpositive individuals in South Africa should be developed to fit the specific needs of the target group.
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