|dc.description.abstract||HIV/AIDS is the biggest challenge facing humankind today and can no longer be
compared to other health disasters. One of the greatest challenges it presents is that of
nurturing healthy children to become competent, adaptive adults despite the numerous
negative effects of the pandemic. Of concern is the lack of interventions that address the
psychosocial needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty and violence. The present
research study aims to evaluate a group therapy programme that has been developed to
address this lack.
The therapy programme used in this study is embedded in Bronfenbrenner's (1979)
ecological model, which focuses on the interaction between person and environment.
The model proposes that this interaction is two directional and reciprocal. It also draws
on the literature concerning risk and resilience in children, which aims to understand
personal, familial and social factors that create and sustain resilience in children. Thus,
the programme aims to intervene on many levels and to give the children the opportunity
to deal with and gain mastery over their past experiences and feelings. In addition, it
aims to develop resilience, self-esteem and internal coping resources and enables them to
access external support systems in the future.
In order to evaluate the programme, a sample of 43 vulnerable children was drawn from a peri-urban community in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The sample was randomly
divided into a control group and two experimental groups, that later merged into one
experimental group. Pre-test data was collected from all the participants in the form of a
questionnaire consisting of 4 quantitative tools: the Trauma Symptom Checklist for
Children (TSCC), the Culture Free Self Esteem Inventory (CFSEI), the Reynolds Child
Depression Scale (RCDS) and a Social Support Scale (SSS).
The group therapy programme, consisting of 15 sessions was then run with the
experimental group. The control group engaged in 15 sessions involving games, singing,
drawing and other activities. Post-test data using the same questionnaire was collected
from all the participants.
The data was analysed quantitatively. No statistically significant differences were noted
between any of the overall pre- and post-test data, except that of the TSCC. The
graphical representations of the results showed a reduction in trauma symptoms and
depression, and a raise in self-esteem, however the p-values were not significant. This is
thought to be the result of the small sample size. The result also indicated that the CFSEI
cannot be considered a reliable tool in this study.
This study emphasises the need for further research in the field of vulnerable children in
South Africa and the development, implementation and evaluation of interventions for