Life maps as technique in a social group work programme for young adults with HIV/AIDS
Herbst, Alida Glaudina
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South Africa is one of the countries with the fastest growing incidences of HIV/AIDS in the world. The infection rate is worst among sexually active adolescents and young adults and a situation is faced where one out of every four adolescents will be infected by 2005. The emphasis in South Africa's HIV/AIDS strategies is on prevention, which is absolutely essential. In the meanwhile, an estimated 4.2 million people are already infected and are in need of support and counselling. Most of these people are younger than 45 years, leaving our country with our most productive members of society living with an epidemic for which there is no cure at the moment. Limited social work support programmes are available to address the psycho-social needs of young adults living with HIV/AIDS. This research study was undertaken with the purpose of developing an intervention programme to supply in the need for social support programmes for persons living with HIV/AIDS. The study was undertaken in two phases, the needs assessment phase and the programme development and evaluation phase and included the following two aims: - To determine the psycho-social needs of young adults living with HIV/AIDS - To develop and evaluate a social group work programme for young adults living with HIV/AIDS where life maps are used as technique. The first aim was achieved by the survey procedure to determine the psycho-social needs of young adults living with the disease. The population consisted of a group of 45 young adults living with HIV/AIDS in the Koppies and Bloemfontein geographical areas. The needs assessment was done by means of a questionnaire and a standardized measuring instrument, Hudson's General Contentment Scale (GCS). As far as the second aim was concerned, a social group work programme was developed where life maps as technique was applied. This technique is fairly unknown in social work and has the potential to be a helpful tool in social work practice. The life maps technique consists of seven existential questions, including theoretical principles that originate from the self actualization theory of Maslow, the existential theory of Frankl, the reality theory of Glasser and the gestalt theory of Perls. Life maps could be linked to similar techniques, including life stories, life scripts and magazine photo collages. The suggested group work programme was developed and implemented to a group of young adults living with HIVIAIDS. The true experiment was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme. The General Contentment Scale was used for pre and post testing. The data collected from this study was mainly qualitative and was processed by following Tesch's approach. The most important conclusions that could be drawn from this study included a need among young adults living with HIV/AIDS to have a meaningful life; the seven questions asked by the life map technique supplied answers to some existential questions of the young adult living with HIV/AIDS; the life map technique could be applied effectively in social group work; and the general contentment of the experimental group increased after application of the programme, while the control group's general contentment stayed more or less the same. The latter indicated that the social group work programme that was developed, had an influence on the general contentment of a group of young adults living with HIV/AIDS.
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