Daily life with early orphanhood from HIV/AIDS: An exploratory study

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 27, issue 6, 2017 , pages: 557–560
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2017.1399967
Author(s): Asamenew Demessie BiredaFaculty of Education, South Africa, Jace PillaySouth African Research Chair: Education and Care in Childhood, Faculty of Education, South Africa


This study explored the everyday lived life by South African early adolescents orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Informants were ten early adolescents (age range 12 to 14 years; females = 6; males = 4) from a low socioeconomic status neighbourhood of Johannesburg. The adolescents completed autobiographical essays and in-depth individual interviews on their quality of life in the school, home, and community. Thematic analysis of the data revealed the early adolescents, orphaned due to HIV/AIDS, to experience extreme sadness, anxiety, and fear. Their sense of emotional distress was compounded by living in material and relational poverty, with frequent exposure to bullying at school, and crime in their neighbourhood. Integrated psycho-social interventions addressing both material and relational poverty might enhance the physical and psycho-social well-being of adolescents with orphanhood from HIV/AIDS.

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