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Inverse association of natural mentoring relationship with distress mental health in children orphaned by AIDS

DOI: 10.1186/1471-244x-10-6

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952 children, mean age about 14 years, from local community schools and child-care centers in Kampala (Uganda) and Mafikeng/Klerksdorp (South Africa) towns participated in the study. The design has AIDS-orphaned group (n = 373) and two control groups: Other-causes orphaned (n = 287) and non-orphaned (n = 290) children. We use measures of child abuse, depression, social discrimination, anxiety, parental/foster care, self-esteem, and social support to estimate mental health. Natural mentoring care is measured with the Ragins and McFarlin (1990) Mentor Role Instrument as adapted.AIDS-orphaned children having a natural mentor showed significant decreased distress mental health factors. Similar evidence was not observed in the control groups. Also being in a natural mentoring relationship inversely related to distress mental health factors in the AIDS-orphaned group, in particular. AIDS-orphaned children who scored high mentoring relationship showed significant lowest distress mental health factors that did those who scored moderate and low mentoring relationship.Natural mentoring care seems more beneficial to ameliorate distress mental health in AIDS-orphaned children (many of whom are double-orphans, having no biological parents) than in children in the control groups.Orphan children tend to manifest more depression [1], personality disorder [2], and anxiety/insomnia [3] tendencies than do non-orphans. These orphan children may present psychosomatic symptoms [3] and health worries [4] that may impede positive mental health. Material and emotional supports from parents during childhood may have enduring psychosocial health benefits [5]. These parental supports, which the orphan child may lack, fulfill the affective function of the family to its members [6,7]. Orphans may encounter hopelessness, and frustration [8] often owing to their new circumstance that may require them to not only fend for themselves but also for their younger ones, in some cases. However, Abebe and


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