Original Research

Coping mechanisms used by caregivers of HIV/AIDS orphans in North West province, South Africa

Boitumelo J. Molato, Salaminah S. Moloko-Phiri, Magdalena P. Koen, Molekodi J. Matsipane
South African Family Practice | Vol 66, No 1 : Part 2| a5857 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v66i1.5857 | © 2024 Boitumelo J. Molato, Salaminah S. Moloko-Phiri, Magdalena P. Koen, Molekodi J. Matsipane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 October 2023 | Published: 14 May 2024

About the author(s)

Boitumelo J. Molato, NuMIQ Research Focus Area, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa
Salaminah S. Moloko-Phiri, NuMIQ Research Focus Area, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa
Magdalena P. Koen, NuMIQ Research Focus Area, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa
Molekodi J. Matsipane, NuMIQ Research Focus Area, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a pandemic that has affected families and left many children orphaned worldwide. After the death of their parents, HIV/AIDS orphans are often taken care of by caregivers who are faced with overwhelming challenges that affect their capabilities to perform caring tasks. It has been reported that caregivers of HIV/AIDS orphans use different coping mechanisms to deal with the challenges faced during caring. Coping mechanisms play an integral role in maintaining individuals’ physical and mental well-being, particularly those caring for orphans. This study explored coping mechanisms used by caregivers of HIV/AIDS orphans.

Methods: A qualitative design was adopted, and individual semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 13 caregivers of HIV/AIDS orphans in North West province. Non-probability purposive sampling was used to select the participants. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data. Rigor was maintained throughout the study.

Results: Three main themes were identified with eight subthemes. The first theme includes support from significant others, and subthemes are family support, neighbour support, and life partner support. The second main theme emerged from this study was religious practices and two subthemes namely singing gospel songs and using prayer to cope. The third main theme identified includes the use of social support services, and subthemes were government support, support from local schools, and stokvels and social clubs.

Conclusion: The identified coping mechanisms in this study improved caregiving skills of caregivers to better care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.


Keywords

caregivers; challenges; caring; coping mechanisms; HIV/AIDS; orphans

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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