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Title: Experiences of AIDS-related bereavement
Author: Wright, Clare M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3573 0597
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1997
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The development of community based, grass roots organisations that recruit, train, assign and supervise volunteers, who assist with the care of people with AIDS has been a critical response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Snyder & Omoto, 1992a). This study relates the accounts of 41 British HIV/AIDS 'buddies' concerning their experiences of voluntary work and AIDS-related bereavement following the death of at least one client. It investigates what motivates people to volunteer for, to remain committed to, and to leave HIV/AIDS work and how these processes are affected by the experiences of AIDS-related bereavement. In addition, it looks at what it is like to buddy a person with AIDS, what social supports are available to those undertaking this work, and what training volunteers receive prior to their becoming buddies. Questionnaires eliciting qualitative information were completed by participants and the data was analysed using a grounded theory approach. The findings indicate that people volunteer for HIV/ AIDS work for a wide range of reasons including volunteering as a result of experiencing an AIDS-related bereavement. AIDS-related bereavement was found to have negative consequences for buddies and result in a decreased motivation for voluntary work, but only where these losses were multiple. The bereavement reactions of volunteers are found to support a theoretical model of AIDS-related bereavement put forward in an earlier study (Wright, 1993). This model also accounted for the participants' perceptions of the helpfulness of social support. An emergent model is proposed as a framework for understanding the buddying, AIDS-related bereavement, and training experiences of volunteers. The practical implications of this model are discussed and recommendations are suggested. The role of clinical psychology in supporting HIV/ AIDS organisations, their staff and volunteers is described and the need for careful volunteer selection, training, and support is emphasised.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medicine