Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy and Hope Among Vulnerable Adolescents Affected by HIV and Participating in Community-Based Savings and Lending Groups in Rural Nyanga District, Zimbabwe
Background: Approximately 25 percent of Zimbabwe's children are estimated to be orphaned, with the majority orphaned due to AIDS-related illnesses. HIV-affected households often face severe financial constraints, making them unable to meet their basic needs. Financial stress can negatively affect overall mental health, life satisfaction and wellbeing in numerous ways. Perceived control over one's economic situation and sense of self can mediate financial distress.
Methods: Over a one year period, 2,000 adolescents participated in community-based savings and lending groups (SLG), and 50 percent also received life skills education (LSE). A quantitative survey was administered to a randomly selected subsample of the project population matched with a sample of adolescents from a nonintervention control ward. Surveys were administered in Shona and back translated into English. Data were entered into SPSS and analyzed using univariate and bivariate measures.
Results: 160 adolescents participated in the survey. Average age was 15 years old with an average household size of seven members. Adolescent SLG group members (n = 139) reported statistically significant higher scores on self-efficacy (p < .001), self-esteem (p < .01) and hope (p < .01) than adolescents from the control group (n = 21). There were no statistically significant differences between adolescents who received only SLG compared to those who received SLG plus LSE, although most of the random sample received both interventions. While 75 percent of adolescents reported that caregivers decided how general household income was spent, 45 percent of adolescents reported that caregivers decided how their SLG funds would be spent; 33 percent made independent decisions regarding their funds. Hope scale scores positively correlated with increased decision-making power over funds.
Conclusions: Adolescents affected by HIV face many challenges, including poverty and unknown futures. Economic empowerment may provide an option for responding to both immediate financial concerns and also building mental health resilience and outcomes for the future.
Authors: Shannon Senefeld, Carrie Miller, Dorcas Mgugu, Gideon Mavise, Wendy-Ann Rowe
Presenter: Carrie Miller
Conference: 2012 International AIDS Conference
Location: Washington, DC
Date of presentation: July 25, 2012
PowerPoint: 15 slides (PDF)
Posted on November 7, 2012