The psychological well-being of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the workplace
Mokhethi, Thelma Joalane
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The history of HIV/AIDS dates back to 1985, when it was thought to be a disease affecting animals. Later, HIV/AIDS was regarded as an illness which affected gay individuals. However, research world-wide has shown that HIV/AIDS is a disease that affects everyone irrespective of race, gender, social status and sexual orientation. Research regarding the psychological well-being (coping, sense of coherence, locus of control and general health) of HIV infected persons in the workplace seems appropriate and relevant. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between sense of coherence, locus of control, coping, and general health. A cross-sectional survey design was used to achieve research objectives. For the purpose of this study, an availability sample of (n = 91) HIV infected individuals in the workplace was used. Four questionnaires were employed in the empirical study, namely the General Health Questionnaire, the Coping Orientations to the Problems Experienced Questionnaire, the Work Locus of Control Scale, and the Orientation to Life Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, skewness and kurtosis) were used to analyse the data. Pearson correlations and canonical analysis were used to assess the relationships between sense of coherence, locus of control, coping strategies and general health. Approach coping strategies such as active coping, planning, seeking support for instrumental reasons, seeking support for emotional reasons, positive reinterpretation and growth, and acceptance were positively related to a strong sense of coherence and a low external locus of control. Avoidance coping strategies, such as focus on and ventilation of emotions, denial, behavioural disengagement, and mental disengagement were negatively related to sense of coherence and positively related to an external locus of control. HIV infected employees who measured high on planning, low on focus on and venting of emotions, and low on mental disengagement, experienced less anxiety and fewer somatic problems. Recommendations for future research were made.