Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Int AIDS Soc. 2012 Jul 11;15 Suppl 2:17391. doi: 10.7448/IAS.15.4.17391.

Qualitative interviews with mentor mothers living with HIV: potential impacts of role and coping strategies.

Author information

  • 1Human Sciences Research Council, Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

In South Africa where HIV prevalence is high, mentor mother programmes have been used to promote the health and wellbeing of women enrolled in government programmes preventing vertical transmission. The Masihambisane Project trained mentors to be educators and facilitators as "expert patients" in self-help groups. While this and other similar interventions demonstrate positive outcomes for mothers and their children, the long-term repercussions for mentors delivering the intervention are seldom considered. This article explores the personal impact of being a mentor, the potentially traumatizing effects of repeatedly sharing their experiences of living with HIV and the coping strategies they adopt.

RESULTS:

Towards the end of the Masihambisane intervention, 10 semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with locally recruited mentors living with HIV and were thematically analysed. Mentors found the repeated telling of their stories a painful reminder of adverse personal experiences. In some cases, retelling caused a physical reaction. Mentors relied on coping strategies like taking breaks, writing their experiences down and debriefing sessions. Despite the difficulties associated with their role, some mentors found being advisors and the group sessions therapeutic and empowering.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings indicate that the inclusion of peer mentors comes with certain responsibilities. While the mentors were resilient and some found the experience therapeutic and empowering found creative ways to cope with secondary trauma, the negative implications cannot be ignored. To effectively deliver a mentor-driven intervention to mothers enrolled in a programme to prevent vertical transmission, the possibilities of secondary trauma should be considered and mentors provided with ongoing counselling, training on coping skills and regular debriefing sessions.

PMID:
22789646
PMCID:
PMC3499907
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Datapage Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk