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J Adolesc Health. 2012 Apr;50(4):346-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.08.008. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

The impact of a comprehensive microfinance intervention on depression levels of AIDS-orphaned children in Uganda.

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  • 1Social Work and International Affairs, Columbia University, NY, NY, USA. fs2114@columbia.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

By adversely affecting family functioning and stability, poverty constitutes an important risk factor for children's poor mental health functioning. This study examines the impact of a comprehensive microfinance intervention, designed to reduce the risk of poverty, on depression among AIDS-orphaned youth.

METHODS:

Children from 15 comparable primary schools in Rakai District of Uganda, one of those hardest hit by HIV/AIDS in the country, were randomly assigned to control (n = 148) or treatment (n = 138) conditions. Children in the treatment condition received a comprehensive microfinance intervention comprising matched savings accounts, financial management workshops, and mentorship. This was in addition to traditional services provided for all school-going orphaned adolescents (counseling and school supplies). Data were collected at wave 1 (baseline), wave 2 (10 months after intervention), and wave 3 (20 months after intervention). We used multilevel growth models to examine the trajectory of depression in treatment and control conditions, measured using Children's Depression Inventory (Kovacs).

RESULTS:

Children in the treatment group exhibited a significant decrease in depression, whereas their control group counterparts showed no change in depression.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings indicate that over and above traditional psychosocial approaches used to address mental health functioning among orphaned children in sub-Saharan Africa, incorporating poverty alleviation-focused approaches, such as this comprehensive microfinance intervention, has the potential to improve psychosocial functioning of these children.

Copyright © 2012 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22443837
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3314188
Free PMC Article

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