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Pienaar A.,Center for Health Systems Research and Development | Swanepoel Z.,University of the Free State | van Rensburg H.,CHSR and D UFS | Heunis C.,CHSR and D UFS
Sahara J | Year: 2011

This article presents the findings of a study among a small group of South African AIDS orphans living in a residential care facility, Lebone Land. The research was conducted between June and September 2006. A qualitative, exploratory study consisting of in-depth, semistructured interviews with eight children and seven key informants aimed to identify and investigate developmental assets operating in the children's lives to help them cope amid exposure to adversities. The findings indicate that the developmental assets that facilitate coping and foster resilience in these children relate to four main components: external stressors and challenges, external supports, inner strengths and interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Emerging key themes relate to the experience of illness, death, poverty and violence, as well as the important roles of morality, social values, resistance skills, religion and faith in assisting these children in defining their purpose in life. To this end, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, goal-setting, problem-solving ability and self-efficacy are fundamental in the children's attainment of their future projections. Therefore, qualities such as optimism, perseverance and hope seem to permeate the children's process of recovery. Strong networks of support, particularly friendships with other children, also seem to contribute to developing and sustaining resilience.

Jones K.,East Carolina University | Mansfield C.J.,Center for Health Systems Research and Development
North Carolina medical journal | Year: 2014

This study examined trends in premature mortality--defined as years of potential life lost before age 75 years--in North Carolina during the period 2000-2010. Premature mortality at the county level was calculated and compared for two 5-year periods (1996-2000 and 2006-2010) for the entire population, among whites, and among nonwhites. This study also examined and compared leading causes of death that contributed to premature mortality among whites and nonwhites in each county and in the state as a whole. Premature mortality in North Carolina was reduced 13.3% for the population as a whole, 26.6% for nonwhites, and 7.2% for whites. However, premature mortality actually increased for the population as a whole in 20 counties, among whites in 35 counties, and among nonwhites in 8 counties. Among whites, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, suicide, injuries, and motor vehicle crashes each contributed an above-average share of premature mortality. Among nonwhites, stroke, diabetes, homicide, and heart disease each contributed an above-average share of premature mortality. We were unable to calculate reliable rates of premature mortality for Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and other nonwhite ethnic groups because the numbers at the county level were too small. Public health professionals should focus attention on counties in which premature mortality is increasing or remaining constant and should address the specific underlying causes of such deaths. In counties in which premature mortality among whites is increasing, community health efforts should focus on prevention of smoking, suicide, and injury. In counties with large nonwhite populations, programs should focus on prevention of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, homicide, and kidney disease.

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