Understanding locally, culturally, and contextually relevant mental health problems among Rwandan children and adolescents affected by HIV/AIDS

Theresa S. Betancourt, Julia E. Rubin-Smith, William R. Beardslee, Sara N. Stulac, Ildephonse Fayida, Steven Safren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In assessing the mental health of HIV/AIDS-affected children and adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa, researchers often employ mental health measures developed in other settings. However, measures derived from standard Western psychiatric criteria are frequently based on conceptual models of illness or terminology that may or may not be an appropriate for diverse populations. Understanding local perceptions of mental health problems can aid in the selection or creation of appropriate measures. This study used qualitative methodologies (Free Listing, Key Informant interviews, and Clinician Interviews) to understand local perceptions of mental health problems facing HIV/AIDS-affected youth in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda. Several syndrome terms were identified by participants: agahinda kenshi, kwiheba, guhangayika, ihahamuka, umushiha, and uburara. While these local syndromes share some similarities with Western mood, anxiety, and conduct disorders, they also contain important culture-specific features and gradations of severity. Our findings underscore the importance of understanding local manifestations of mental health syndromes when conducting mental health assessments and when planning interventions for HIV/AIDS-affected children and adolescents in diverse settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Mental Health
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
AIDS
mental health
HIV
adolescent
Rwanda
Interviews
Conduct Disorder
Africa South of the Sahara
interview
Anxiety Disorders
Mood Disorders
Terminology
mood
technical language
Psychiatry
illness
Research Personnel
anxiety

Keywords

  • children and adolescents
  • HIV/AIDS
  • mental health
  • qualitative research
  • Rwanda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Understanding locally, culturally, and contextually relevant mental health problems among Rwandan children and adolescents affected by HIV/AIDS. / Betancourt, Theresa S.; Rubin-Smith, Julia E.; Beardslee, William R.; Stulac, Sara N.; Fayida, Ildephonse; Safren, Steven.

In: AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, Vol. 23, No. 4, 04.2011, p. 401-412.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Betancourt, Theresa S. ; Rubin-Smith, Julia E. ; Beardslee, William R. ; Stulac, Sara N. ; Fayida, Ildephonse ; Safren, Steven. / Understanding locally, culturally, and contextually relevant mental health problems among Rwandan children and adolescents affected by HIV/AIDS. In: AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV. 2011 ; Vol. 23, No. 4. pp. 401-412.
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