Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Emotional Well-Being of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Ogun State Orphanages Nigeria: Predictors and Implications for Policy

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Emotional Well-Being of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Ogun State Orphanages Nigeria: Predictors and Implications for Policy

Article excerpt

Abstract

Previous research has found strong links between the emotional well-being of children and young people to their personal, social development and academic performance. This study examined stigmatisation, sexual involvement and school enrolment as predictors of emotional well-being of orphans and vulnerable children Ogun State orphanages, Nigeria.

A survey design was used and convenience sampling technique was used to select participants for the study. A total of 100 respondents (59 males and 41 females) who had lost one or both parents to AIDS participated in the study by completing self-report questionnaires. A 2x2 analysis of variance (ANOVA) and independent sample T-test statistical analyses were utilized to analyze the data collected.

Findings indicate that 46% of the OVC reported having scary dreams or nightmares, 44% often have trouble falling asleep, 65% often feel unhappy, 11% always feel happy, while 51% are sometimes happy. 68% often prefer being alone, 57% always feel worried while 49% often engage in fighting. However, 48% of the OVC are always hopeful. 35 participants -16 boys and 19 girls (35%) of the OVC have been involved in sexual intercourse. Of the OVC that have had sexual experience 11 (11%), 6 males and 7 females were involved in sexual intercourse against their will. OVC who were sexually involved experience more emotional distress than OVC who were not sexually involved. Also OVC who are high on stigmatization also experience more emotional distress than OVC who are low on stigmatization. The implications of these findings were discussed and recommendations made in the study.

Key words: HIV/AIDS, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Stigmatization, Sexual involvement, Emotional-well-being

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

In Nigeria, AIDS prevalence among adults increased from 1.8% in 1991, to 4.5% in 1996 and 5.8% in 2001, but declined to 5.0% in 2003 and 4.4% in 2005 (FMOH 2005). With an estimated 2.86 million people (2.62 million adults > 15 years; 238,000 children) living with HIV in the country by the end of 2005, Nigeria has the third largest number of people living with HIV in the world, after South Africa and India (FMOH 2005). Orphans and vulnerable children remain a pressing challenge for many countries. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 15 million children under 18 have been orphaned by AIDS (UNAIDS, 2006). A joint study by USAID, UNICEF and UNAIDS in 2005 found that there are about 12.3 million AIDS orphans in Sub-Sahara Africa. By 2010, an estimated 15.7 million children - 30 per cent of the 53 million anticipated orphans from all causes in sub-Saharan Africa - will have lost at least one parent due to AIDS (UNAIDS and UNICEF estimates, 2006). Even where HIV prevalence stabilizes or begins to decline, the number of orphans will continue to grow or at least remain high for years, reflecting the time lag between HIV infection and death. In 2003 alone 800,000 children orphaned by AIDS were added to the estimated 7 million orphans in Nigeria ( UNAIDS, UNICEF 8c USAID, 2004). Recently published data (UNAIDS 2006) show that 1.3 million children (0 - 17 years) lost one or both parents to AIDS in Nigeria in 2005.

Although awareness of the plight of orphans is growing, no country has mounted the kind of response that is needed to match the severity of the crisis (Subbarao, 8c Coury, . (2004). Serious strains on the traditional coping mechanisms with orphans and vulnerable children are now evident considering the poverty level in most families in Africa especially Nigeria. Given the swelling numbers of orphans and the enormity of the orphan crisis in Africa most especially in Nigeria, it can be argued that more and more children will need to be placed in orphanages.

Emotional well-being of orphans:

Atwine, Cantor-Graae and Banjunirwe, (2005), found that anxiety; depression and anger were more common among AIDS orphans and they had lower expectations about the future than other children in Uganda. …

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