“I am doing okay” : intrapersonal coping strategies of children living in an institution

07 May 2012

In this case study, we utilized a Resilience framework and Sense of Coherence theory to understand how a group of children coped while living in an institution as a consequence of HIV/AIDS. We followed a qualitative and interpretivist approach. The experiences of nine children (5 girls and 4 boys) aged between 11 and 15 years is highlighted. The primary data generation strategy was informal interviews. However, we based these interviews upon participatory task-based and multimodal activities incorporating visual (drawings, pictures), auditory (stories, conversation), tactile (clay modeling) and kinaesthetic (role play) activities to stimulate conversation and discussion. All interviews were voice recorded and the contents thereof, thematically analysed. Children living in this institution use the following intrapersonal coping strategies: a sense of spiritual connectedness, disengagement (fantasy, denial and detachment), and positive intrapersonal characteristics. Intrapersonal sources of resilience help children to establish meaningfulness and comprehensibility in their lives on a continuum of engagement or disengagement. They use spiritual connectedness and socially responsible behaviour to engage and fantasy, denial and detachment to disengage.