Original Articles

What do Tanzanian children worry about?


This paper explores the worries of children in a sample of 8- to 15-year-old children, drawn from three primary schools on the outskirts of Moshi, Tanzania. Data about children's worries were collected by two methods. First, lists of worries were generated by 270 children who gave a total of 3 409 statements. The worries they expressed were categorised and condensed into 55 questions on a questionnaire designed to measure the frequency of the most common worries. In part two, 978 children participated by filling in this questionnaire. The majority of the children's worries fell into four categories: education, health, care/abuse and safety issues. The children elaborated on worries within each of these groups, whether or not they themselves were affected by HIV/AIDS through orphan-hood. However, their statements demonstrate their serious concern with the epidemic in the community and society. Concern for others above self is mirrored in the children's worries, reflecting the collective orientation of the local culture. Finally, ways that this knowledge may be utilised to strengthen children's coping strategies are discussed.

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