Orphans’ perspectives on grief and loss in Botswana

Nthabiseng A. Phaladze, Barbara N. Ngwenya, Lesego Gabaitiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper seeks to examine orphaned children’s experiences on grief and loss in Botswana, and its impact on their well-being and make policy recommendations. A cross sectional design which utilized survey questionnaires was employed. Data were collected from 11 districts (3 urban and 8 rural) among orphan children aged 10–18 years. Chi-squared test was used to identify variables believed to be associated with loss and grief. Unadjusted (simple) and adjusted multiple logistic regression was used to investigate factors associated with loss. Of the 732 participants (53.1%) were females and mean age was 13.5 years (SD = 2.7); and 44.6% of these children had experienced death of a close family member in the past year which had been communicated. Children had access to education, lower primary (19.5%), upper primary (39.1%), junior secondary (32.5%), senior secondary school (6.6%), and (0.3%) in tertiary institutions. Most children (88.6%) had not experienced stigma and discrimination at school; 55.2% lived with grandparents, aunts (23.4%), siblings (11.8%), uncles (4.0%), other relatives (3.5%) and non-relatives (0.1%). Unadjusted logistic regression indicated that loss was significantly associated with having someone to talk to (OR = 0.72, 95% CI, 0.53–0.98, p = 0.03), change of residence (OR = 3.08, 95% CI, 1.94–4.90, p < 0.01), having siblings (OR = 2.06, 95% CI, 1.38–3.07, p < 0.01) and being from urban areas (OR = 0.56, 95% CI, 0.41–0.78, p < 0.01). In the adjusted model, loss was significantly associated with change of residence (OR = 2.72, 95% CI, 1.69–4.35, p < 0.01), having siblings (OR = 1.98, 95% CI, 1.30–3.01, p < 0.01) and being from urban areas (OR = 0.65, 95% CI, 0.46–0.93, p = 0.02). Age-specific interventions aimed at addressing the emotional, psychosocial and economic impacts of grief and loss are critical in preventing negative coping behaviors and improving the quality of life of orphans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-510
Number of pages5
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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