The Psychosocial Problems of Children

The Psychosocial Problems of Children With HIV/AIDS on Antiretroviral Treatment: A Longitudinal Study

This longitudinal study focuses on children with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral treatment and their problems in psychosocial  functioning. Chronic illness in children can lead to the development of psychosocial problems, and therefore attention for mental health is needed for these children. Because no research is available concerning the psychosocial functioning of children with HIV/AIDS in the developing world, this study aims to look at the mental health problems of HIV/AIDS-infected children in South-Africa. The results of this study can contribute to the development of support programs for diseased children. This study follows a longitudinal design with three waves, in which children with HIV/AIDS are being compared to children without HIV/AIDS regarding ‘depression/anxiety’, ‘withdrawal’ and ‘social problems’. Results show no significant differences between the two groups in most waves. However, significant differences between the experimental group and the control group were found for ‘depression/anxiety’ in wave two, and for ‘social problems’ in wave one and two. No effects were found for age and traumatic experiences. Only one effect for time was found on ‘social problems’, indicating the counterintuitive effect  that ‘social problems’ decreased over time for both groups. Besides psychosocial problems, also ‘social support’ was studied. Results show that the experimental group experience more ‘transactions of social support’ than the control group. Besides this result, negative correlations were found between the ‘total score on social support’ and score for ‘satisfaction of social support’ and all different forms of psychosocial problems for both groups. The negative correlations with ‘depression/anxiety’ and with ‘withdrawal’ were stronger for the control group than for the experimental group. These results reflect that children who receive less social support have more psychosocial problems and plead for more attention of social support in intervention programs for children.

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