oa Curationis - Grieving experiences amongst adolescents orphaned by AIDS : analysis from event history calendars : original research
Mental health is an essential component of adolescent health and well-being. Mental health practitioners assess adolescents' mental health status to identify possible issues that may lead to mental health problems. However, very few of the tools used to assess the mental health status of adolescents include assessment for grieving and coping patterns. The current tools used for assessing an individual's mental health are lengthy and not comprehensive. The purpose of this study was to assess grieving patterns of adolescents orphaned by AIDS and to appraise the usefulness of an event history calendar as an assessment tool for identifying grieving experiences, in order to guide and support these adolescents through the grieving process. One hundred and two adolescents aged 14-18 years, who had been orphaned by AIDS, completed an event history calendar, reviewed it with the researcher and reported their perceptions of it. Thematic analysis of the event history calendar content revealed that it is an effective, time-efficient, adolescent-friendly tool that facilitated identification and discussion of the orphaned adolescents' grieving patterns. Crying, isolation, silence and violent outbursts were the main grieving patterns reported by adolescents orphaned by AIDS. The researcher recommends use of the event history calendar for identification of orphaned adolescents' grieving experiences. Early identification would enable mental health practitioners to support them in order to prevent the occurrence of mental illness due to maladaptive grieving.
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