Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

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Research Paper

An exploratory study of psychological and developmental issues facing HIV and AIDS affected adolescents living in a residential care facility

Myrthe Van Vilsteren, Sadiyya Haffejee, Rabia Patel, Brett Bowman


Objective: This article explores the psychological issues experienced by adolescents affected by HIV and living in a residential care facility.
Method discussion with adolescents at the residential care facility, individual interviews with caregivers and ethnographic observation. Data were obtained from a residential care facility for HIV affected and infected children and mothers in Gauteng.
Results: Findings suggest that for adolescents in this study, living in a residential care facility offered both opportunities and challenges. Adolescents at the facility enjoyed material and, to some extent, emotional support. Association with a facility known as a HIV and AIDS care facility, however, had a negative impact on the adolescents. Additionally, the lack of significant attachment figures, asserting their independence and challenging the authority and the expectations of the facility appeared to be significant developmental challenges. Adolescents reported experiencing a range of emotional and psychological problems, some of which were present before they arrived at the facility.
Conclusion: Living in a care facility can be both a protective and a risk factor; additional studies on the availability and the impact of alternate forms of care are suggested.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2011, 23(1): 43–51
AJOL African Journals Online