The impact of structured support groups for pregnant South African women recently diagnosed HIV positive

Women Health. 2011 Aug 31;51(6):546-65. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2011.606356.


The authors of this study evaluated a structured 10-session psychosocial support group intervention for newly HIV-diagnosed pregnant South African women. Participants were expected to display increases in HIV disclosure, self-esteem, active coping and positive social support, and decreases in depression, avoidant coping, and negative social support. Three hundred sixty-one pregnant HIV-infected women were recruited from four antenatal clinics in Tshwane townships from April 2005 to September 2006. Using a quasi-experimental design, assessments were conducted at baseline and two and eight months post-intervention. A series of random effects regression analyses were conducted, with the three assessment points treated as a random effect of time. At both follow-ups, the rate of disclosure in the intervention group was significantly higher than that of the comparison group (p<0.001). Compared to the comparison group at the first follow-up, the intervention group displayed higher levels of active coping (t=2.68, p<0.05) and lower levels of avoidant coping (t=-2.02, p<0.05), and those who attended at least half of the intervention sessions exhibited improved self-esteem (t=2.11, p<0.05). Group interventions tailored for newly HIV positive pregnant women, implemented in resource-limited settings, may accelerate the process of adjusting to one's HIV status, but may not have sustainable benefits over time.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • Health Resources
  • Humans
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / psychology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • Social Support*
  • South Africa
  • Young Adult