Measuring health-related quality of life: a comparison between people living with aids and police on active duty.ABSTRACT
The escalating rate of AIDS-related deaths in South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. has led to an increase in social scientific research on the perceptions and experiences of people suffering from AIDS by focusing on their physical health and emotional well-being. The aim of this study was to measure and compare the quality of life of two sample groups in South Africa, namely members of the police on active duty, as an example of a healthy population, and people living with AIDS. The SF-36 questionnaire was used as measuring instrument to assess the respondents' perceptions of their own health-related quality of life. From the research, which was based on a comparative approach, it was found that statistically significant differences existed between people living with AIDS and members of the police force in respect of their scores on all eight of the SF-36 domains (p < 0.05). The biggest difference between the AIDS respondents and members of the police occurred in the emotional roles limitation dimension, followed by the physical functioning and the bodily pain dimensions. Intervention programmes that are aimed at contributing to the improvement of the well-being of people suffering from AIDS, therefore need to incorporate mechanisms that provide support in all eight of the quality-of-life dimensions.
Die styging in die getal VIGS-verwante sterftes in Suid-Afrika het gelei tot 'n toename in sosiaalwetenskaplike navorsing oor die persepsies en belewenisse van mense n. 1. Manliness; dignity; comeliness; civility.
v. t. 1. To grace. met VIGS VIGS Video Image Guide Scope
VIGS Videodisc Gunnery Simulator
VIGS Verworwe Immungebreksindroom , met die fokus op hul fisieke gesondheid en emosionele welsyn. Die doel van hierdie studie was om die lewenskwaliteit van twee groepe in Suid-Afrika te meet en met mekaar te vergelyk. Hierdie twee groepe het enersyds uit lede van die polisie in aktiewe diens, as voorbeeld van 'n gesonde populasie en andersyds uit mense met VIGS bestaan. Die SF-36-vraelys is as meetinstrument gebruik om die respondente se persepsies van hul gesondheidsverwante lewenskwaliteit te assesseer. Op grond van hierdie navorsing, wat op 'n vergelykende benadering berus het, is bevind dat mense met VIGS en lede van die polisiemag se onderskeie tellings op al agt SF-36-domeine (p < 0.05) beduidend verskil het. Die grootste verskil tussen die persepsies van die respondente met VIGS en die van lede van die polisiemag het op die emosionele rolbeperkingsdomein gele, gevolg deur die domeine van fisieke funksionering en liggaamlike pyn. Dit is dus noodsaaklik dat intervensieprogramme wat die welsyn van VIGS-lyers wil bevorder, meganismes moet inkorporeer wat ondersteuning in al agt lewenskwaliteitsdomeine bied.
Key words: HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ; health-related quality of life; police on active duty; SF-36 questionnaire; subjective wellbeing
Health-related quality of life is of great significance across the whole spectrum of the human health continuum. Numerous studies have shown that the assessment of quality of life does not only shed light on the life experiences of people with acute illnesses, but that it may be of particular importance to people who suffer from chronic diseases. In view of the fact that there is no adequate cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS, AIDS has become one of the most feared chronic and life-threatening diseases of our time. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS ), approximately 30 million people all over the world had been infected in·fect
tr.v. in·fect·ed, in·fect·ing, in·fects
1. To contaminate with a pathogenic microorganism or agent.
2. To communicate a pathogen or disease to.
3. To invade and produce infection in. with the HI-virus in December 1999 (WHO, 2003:1). By December 2002, this figure had escalated to 42 million people, with an estimated 16,000 to 17,000 new HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. infections per day (LifeLine life·line
a. An anchored line thrown as a support to someone falling or drowning.
b. A line shot to a ship in distress.
c. A line used to raise and lower deep-sea divers.
2. SA, 2003:33; WHO, 2003:1).
What is even more alarming, is that 66% of the global population infected with HIV is situated in sub-Saharan Africa--accounting for 83% of the world's AIDS-related deaths (WHO, 2003:2). In South Africa alone, reports indicate that 4.7 million people are HIV-positive (LifeLine SA, 2003:30). According to the Women's International Network News (2001:1) the number of people with HIV infections in South Africa may grow to 6.1 million by 2005 and 7.5 million by 2010.
Although various studies have focused on the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS (cf. Demmer, 2001; Joshi, Nau & Kalsekar, 2001; Molassiotis, Callaghan, Twinn & Lam, 2001; Sherman, 2001), the widespread occurrence of HIV infections in South Africa underlines the importance of continued research on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the dimensions of quality of life, in this country in particular. Furthermore, there is a significant lacuna lacuna /la·cu·na/ (lah-ku´nah) pl. lacu´nae [L.]
1. a small pit or hollow cavity.
2. a defect or gap, as in the field of vision (scotoma). in the literature in the comparative data on the health-related quality of life of people living with AIDS and that of a population of healthy individuals. This article is based on the results of two recent quantitative studies which had attempted to fill this gap in the literature by posing the following question: What is the difference between the quality of life (subjective well-being) of members of the police force on active duty (as an example of a healthy population) and that of people living with AIDS? (The concept police on active duty refers to those members of the police who are actively involved in combatting crime and who carry firearms This is an extensive list of small arms — pistol, machine gun, grenade launcher, anti-tank rifle — that includes variants.
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LITERATURE REVIEW: MEASURING HEALTH-RELATED QUALITY OF LIFE
In recent developments in the Sociology of Health and Illness, the scope of investigations has moved from a social scientific view which had focused primarily, and in some cases exclusively, on different aspects of being in a state of ill health, to a perspective which seeks to position both health and illness, in a social, cultural and behavioural Adj. 1. behavioural - of or relating to behavior; "behavioral sciences"
behavioral context (Weiss & Lonnquist, 1997:1). According to the World Health Organisation health can be defined as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity Flaw, defect, or weakness.
In a legal sense, the term infirmity is used to mean any imperfection that renders a particular transaction void or incomplete. For example, if a deed drawn up to transfer ownership of land contains an erroneous description of it, an " (Gilbert, Selikow & Walker, 1996:7; Kendall, 2002:404). In congruence con·gru·ence
a. Agreement, harmony, conformity, or correspondence.
b. An instance of this: "What an extraordinary congruence of genius and era" with this definition of health, health-related quality of life indicators generally incorporate physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of both health perception and function (Irvine, 1993:22). Health-related quality of life can therefore be seen as the health dimension of quality of life that constitutes "a subjective evaluation of various aspects of one's life" (Demmer, 2001:482), "... a composite descriptor (1) A word or phrase that identifies a document in an indexed information retrieval system.
(2) A category name used to identify data.
(operating system) descriptor applied to an unlimited spectrum of tangible and intangible parameters of life satisfaction and capacity" (Irvine, 1993:22). The measurement of health-related quality of life is therefore a subjective assessment of one's well-being --a perception of the degree of contentment Contentment
poor peasant said by the Delphic oracle to be happier than the king because he was contented. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 15] with and capability to perform and control all the facets of one's life (Molassiotis et al. 2001:319).
In the past, researchers and medical practitioners have relied on disease-specific evaluations to assess a patient's health-related quality of life before and after medical intervention. It is only during the past 20 years that a more generic approach to measuring a person's health status has been developed (Shapiro & Richmond, 1996:196). A number of these generic measuring self-reported instruments have been tested with regard to a wide variety of diseases, of which the 36-item short-form health questionnaire (SF-36) is considered one of the best (Shapiro & Richmond, 1996:196; Joshi et al. 2001:136).
The SF-36 questionnaire, which has been documented in more than 2000 publications, proved to be very useful for measuring the health-related quality of life (HRQOL HRQOL Health-Related Quality of Life ) of general and specific populations, patients with acute and chronic diseases in clinical practice in various situations and under different circumstances (Ware, 2001:1). In their appraisal of health-related quality of life instruments Joshi et al. (2001:136) found that the SF-36 questionnaire "... fared better than all its counterparts. The instrument has minimal respondent burden and ... appears to be most optimal for HRQOL measurement ...", in particular in HIV/AIDS patients. The SF-36 questionnaire, which is directed towards the respondents' experiences, feelings, beliefs and convictions about their health-related quality of life during the past four weeks, consists of eight scales and two summary measures (physical and mental health). The eight multi-item-scales that were used, are: (a) limitations in physical activities because of health problems; (b) limitations in social activities because of physical or emotional problems; (c) limitations in role activities because of physical health problems; (d) bodily pain; (e) general mental health; (f) limitations in role activities because of emotional problems; (g) vitality; and (h) general health perceptions (Ware & Sherbourne, 1992:473-483).
Ware (2001:1-2) indicates that a factor analysis of data from the medical outcomes study (MOS (1) (Metal Oxide Semiconductor) See MOSFET.
(2) (Mean Opinion Score) The quality of a digitized voice line. It is a subjective measurement that is derived entirely by people listening to the calls and scoring the results from ) on the general population of the United States of America UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The name of this country. The United States, now thirty-one in number, are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, , which used the SF-36 questionnaire, confirmed that physical and mental health factors, as measured by the eight dimensions of the questionnaire, account for as much as between 80% and 85% of the variance in the respondents' perceptions of their healthrelated quality of life. Studies of the general populations in both Sweden and the United Kingdom resulted in similar findings. From the above studies it is evident that three scales, namely the physical functioning, physical roles limitation and bodily pain dimension scales, correlate most highly with the physical component of health-related quality of life. In addition, the mental health component of subjective quality of life correlates most highly with the general mental health, emotional roles limitation and social functioning social functioning,
n the ability of the individual to interact in the normal or usual way in society; can be used as a measure of quality of care. scales. The vitality, general health perception and social functioning scales have significant correlations with both the physical and mental health components (Ware, 2001:1-2).
The content validity content validity,
n the degree to which an experiment or measurement actually reflects the variable it has been designed to measure. of the SF-36 questionnaire is confirmed by systematic comparisons that indicate that this questionnaire includes eight of the most frequently represented health concepts in the measurement of health-related quality of life (Ware, 2001:3). Both the internal and construct validity construct validity,
n the degree to which an experimentally-determined definition matches the theoretical definition. of the SF-36 instrument have also been confirmed through numerous studies that utilised this questionnaire (cf. Petr, 2000; Petr, 2001; Moller & Petr, 2002; Strassnig, Brar & Ganguli, 2003).
It is, therefore, understandable that, since the development of the SF-36 questionnaire, several studies have made use of this instrument to assess the healthrelated quality of life of individuals suffering from different ailments (cf. Mapes, Lopes, Satayathum & McCullough, 2003; Patti, Cacopardo, Palermo & Ciancio, 2003). Yet, owing to owing to
Because of; on account of: I couldn't attend, owing to illness.
owing to prep → debido a, por causa de the subjective nature of individuals' experiences and definitions of their realities, indicators relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc subjective quality of life or subjective well-being (how satisfied a person is with his/her life as a whole) have, to a great extent, been left in abeyance A lapse in succession during which there is no person in whom title is vested. In the law of estates, the condition of a freehold when there is no person in whom it is vested. In such cases the freehold has been said to be in nubibus (in the clouds), in pendenti . Against the backdrop of this brief theoretical overview of the measurement of healthrelated quality of life, some of the findings of two quantitative studies on health-related quality of life, which are based on a comparative approach, are discussed below.
HEALTH-RELATED QUALITY OF LIFE OF MEMBERS OF THE POLICE FORCE AND PEOPLE LIVING WITH AIDS: A COMPARISON
Sociology attempts to develop a better understanding of those aspects of social behaviour that may impact on social relationships, role performances, construction of reality and quality of life. Being involved in a high-risk occupation such as policing, or suffering from a deadly disease such as AIDS may, therefore, be seen as examples of social 'realities' that could influence the subjective perception of one's quality of life. In an attempt to contribute to this body of knowledge, the aim of the study can be summarised as follows:
* to compare, measure and explore the health-related quality of life of members of the police force on active duty and people living with AIDS by using the eight multi-item domains of the SF-36 questionnaire.
Research design and profile of respondents
In order to achieve the above aim, data from the following two quantitative studies, which both made use of the validated SF-36 questionnaire, were used:
(a) The health-related quality of life of members of the police force on active duty in Potchefstroom, North-West Province, conducted in June 2001 (Moller & Petr, 2002:11) (sample size = 70). (In the study by Moller and Petr (2002:10), a comparison was made between the health-related quality of life of police on active duty in two countries, viz. Ceske Budejovice es·ké Bu·d·jo·vi·ce
A city of southwest Czech Republic on the Vltava River south of Prague. , Czech Republic Czech Republic, Czech Česká Republika (2005 est. pop. 10,241,000), republic, 29,677 sq mi (78,864 sq km), central Europe. It is bordered by Slovakia on the east, Austria on the south, Germany on the west, and Poland on the north. and in Potchefstroom, South Africa. For the purposes of the study reported in this article, only the data regarding the HRQOL of the members of the police in Potchefstroom were used).
(b) The health-related quality of life of people suffering from AIDS residing in Potchefstroom, North-West Province, conducted in November 2002 (sample size = 43). These respondents are involved in the Tshepong AIDS Project of Potchefstroom. The recruitment of the respondents was undertaken by the HIV/AIDS programme coordinator at the North-West University The universities that merged to form this institution are the Potchefstroom University and the University of North-West (formerly the University of Bophuthatswana). These two campuses form the main hubs of the university, with the Potchefstroom campus catering towards the (Potchefstroom campus The Potchefstroom campus of the North-West University (nicknamed "Pukke") was formerly known as the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (abbreviated PU for CHE). It is a medium-sized South African university. ).
For the purposes of the two studies, the SF-36 questionnaire was translated into Afrikaans (Moller, Petr, Vurm, Soukupova & Vondrous, 2002:4-9) and into Tswana (Zerwick, Moller, Petr, Vurm, Kalova, Soukupova & Vondrous, 2002:40-45).
In both these studies, a purposive pur·po·sive
1. Having or serving a purpose.
2. Purposeful: purposive behavior.
pur or judgmental judg·men·tal
1. Of, relating to, or dependent on judgment: a judgmental error.
2. Inclined to make judgments, especially moral or personal ones: sampling method, a non-probability sampling technique (cf. Babbie, 2002:447), was used. Before the respondents, health-related quality of life was assessed, an overview was given of the aim of this study and each individual was assured of his/her anonymity, and that the use of the data would be strictly confidential. In accordance with research ethics Research ethics involves the application of fundamental ethical principles to a variety of topics involving scientific research. These include the design and implementation of research involving human participants (human experimentation); animal experimentation; various aspects of , this assurance was given by the fieldworker field·work
1. A temporary military fortification erected in the field.
2. Work done or firsthand observations made in the field as opposed to that done or observed in a controlled environment.
3. who either informed the respondents verbally of these conditions or by means of the covering letter that accompanied the questionnaire. The following three tables give an overview of the respondents' profile regarding the variables gender, age and educational qualifications. Table 1 on next page. It is evident from Table 1 that the majority of the respondents, who were members of the police force in Potchefstroom, are men (80%). Of the respondents in the AIDS sample, 30 of the 43 respondents were women (70%), whereas only 13 were men. The latter profile must be seen against the following background: Although the results of South African 2001 census showed that the North-West Province had more or less an equal gender distribution of 50,6% women compared to 49,4% men (Statistics South Africa Statistics South Africa is the national statistics board of South Africa. It was established after the Statistics Act, no. 6 of 1999, was passed by the Parliament of South Africa. , 2003), women are considered to be more vulnerable to HIV infection than men (Evian, 2000:193). The Nelson Mandela/HSRC study (Shisana & Simbayi, 2002:20) which conducted an investigation into the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa HIV and AIDS in South Africa are a major health concern, and around 5.5 million people are thought to be living with the virus in South Africa.  HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the retrovirus that causes the disease known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency , for example, found that "... women have higher HIV prevalence than men [because] ... women's reproductive systems reproductive system, in animals, the anatomical organs concerned with production of offspring. In humans and other mammals the female reproductive system produces the female reproductive cells (the eggs, or ova) and contains an organ in which development of the fetus make it easier for them to be infected with HIV, and [that] men are more effective at transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus human immunodeficiency virus
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
A transmissible retrovirus that causes AIDS in humans. ".
Table 2 shows that the majority of the respondents who were members of the police on active duty (73%) were between the ages of 26 and 35 years, whereas the majority of the AIDS sample group (58%) were 30 years old, and younger. According to the 2001 South African population census, the age group 15 to 34 years represented 36,3% of the total population in the North-West Province (Statistics South Africa, 2003). According to existing data on South Africa, the age group with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence is that of (persons aged between) 25 and 29 (Shisana & Simbayi, 2002:7).
According to Table 3, the majority of the police on active duty sample group (72%) had a grade 12 certificate as highest educational qualification. Nineteen per cent of the respondents of this sample group were in possession of a tertiary education Tertiary education, also referred to as third-stage, third level education, or higher education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education, such as a high school, secondary school, or gymnasium. qualification. Of the AIDS respondents, 39% had a primary education up to grade 7. Only 26% of the respondents had completed their secondary education.
The two studies that focused on the quality of health of members of the police on active duty in Potchefstroom (Moller & Petr, 2002:11), and people suffering from AIDS respectively, are both case studies because of the detailed and in-depth nature of the recordings regarding the respondents' physical, psychological and social well-being. The data which was gathered historic-specifically from these two groups and which had been based on an ideographic id·e·o·graph
ide·o·graphic adj. approach, made it possible to explore and describe the interrelation between (a) variables indicating a subjective quality of life; and (b) variables relating to an objective reality as manifested in the respondents' physical, psychological and social well-being.
The following hypothesis was formulated by taking the eight multi-item domains of the SF-36 questionnaire as a point of departure:
There is a difference of health-related quality of life between police on active duty and people living with HIV/AIDS.
In order to test this hypothesis, the data was analysed by using a factor analysis and t-tests. The latter was used to compare the difference between the means of the different groups on a 5% level of significance (cf. Mitchell & Jolley, 2001:211-213), where the null hypothesis null hypothesis,
n theoretical assumption that a given therapy will have results not statistically different from another treatment.
n refers to the equality of means ([H.sub.0] : [[micro].sub.1] = [[micro].sub.2]) tested against the two-sided alter([H.sub.A] : [[micro].sub.1] [not equal to] [[micro].sub.2]). native
Findings and discussion
The factor analyses Verb 1. factor analyse - to perform a factor analysis of correlational data
analyse, analyze - break down into components or essential features; "analyze today's financial market" of both studies confirm that the items of the SF-36 questionnaire are well-described by the extracted factors and that construct validity therefore exists. The following findings, which were based on a factor pattern analysis of the perceived health-related quality of life of the respondents in the two samples, came to the fore:
* Among members of the police on active duty, Factor 1 correlates most highly with the bodily pain (0.80498), mental health (0.79442), vitality (0.72143), and social functioning (0.44538) scales. Factor 2 correlates most highly with the emotional roles limitation (0.53938), general health (0.57477), and physical roles limitation (0.57086) scales. The physical functioning scale (-0.09407) does not fit into either of the two clusters. The variance explained by Factor 1 is 3.0379992 and by Factor 2 is 1.4588260. The final communality value for the eight scales is 4.496825.
* Among people living with AIDS, Factor 1 correlates most highly with the physical functioning (0.86134), emotional roles limitation (0.83928), mental health (0.78995), and physical roles limitation (0.51071) scales. Factor 2 correlates most highly with the general health (0.84887), vitality (0.66407), social functioning (0.64697), and bodily pain (0.57002) scales. The variance explained by Factor 1 is 3.3308601 and by Factor 2, 2.3613138. The final communality value for the eight scales is 5.692174.
The fact that the two samples are independent of each other, with unequal variances and that the same SF-36 measuring instrument was used in both studies, made it possible to use t-tests to compare the two groups' scores on the eight scales (domains) of the SF-36. Figure 1 is a comparison between the perceptions of the respondents who are members of the police and people who are suffering from AIDS regarding their health-related quality of life in terms of the eight SF-36 domains.
From Figure 1, it is evident that the respondents suffering from AIDS have attained observably ob·serv·a·ble
1. Possible to observe: observable phenomena; an observable change in demeanor. See Synonyms at noticeable.
2. lower scores in all eight domains and are less satisfied with their health-related quality of life than the respondents who are members of the police force. The biggest observable ob·serv·a·ble
1. Possible to observe: observable phenomena; an observable change in demeanor. See Synonyms at noticeable.
2. difference between the two groups is in the emotional roles limitation domain (for example, feeling depressed) (31%), followed by the extent to which bodily pain is experienced (20%) and the physical functioning domain (18%) (the extent to which vigorous activities can be carried out).
The respondents' experiences of their health-related quality of life will now be discussed.
The physical functioning domain
The scores on the physical functioning domain scale indicate the extent to which the respondents' perceptions of their quality of life are influenced by their physical condition. In the first place, physical functioning refers to the extent to which the respondents are able to perform vigorous activities such as running, lifting heavy objects, participating in strenuous stren·u·ous
1. Requiring great effort, energy, or exertion: a strenuous task.
2. Vigorously active; energetic or zealous. sports, climbing several flights of stairs and walking more than a kilometre. In the second place, it entails the performance of moderate activities such as bending, kneeling or stooping stoop 1
v. stooped, stoop·ing, stoops
1. To bend forward and down from the waist or the middle of the back: had to stoop in order to fit into the cave. , bathing and dressing themselves. The research hypothesis is accepted on the following grounds: there is an observable difference of 18% between the perceptions of the AIDS respondents (62%) and those of the members of the police on active duty (80%) (cf. Moller & Petr, 2002:13). The ttest conducted on the scores of the two groups on the physical functioning scale shows that statistically significant differences also exist between the AIDS respondents and police on active duty (p = 3.406). These findings correspond with medical evidence that shows that AIDS patients (even as early as the first few weeks of acquiring the HIV infection) may experience extreme levels of tiredness, muscle and joint pains, nausea, fever, and chest pain that may impede im·pede
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.
[Latin imped their ability to perform physical tasks (Evian, 2000:28, 32).
Depending on how far the disease had advanced, people suffering from AIDS could be assisted, inter alia [Latin, Among other things.] A phrase used in Pleading to designate that a particular statute set out therein is only a part of the statute that is relevant to the facts of the lawsuit and not the entire statute. , by family members, friends, primary health-care workers, voluntary and non-governmental associations such as the Tshepong Aids Project in Potchefstroom and the National Association of People Living with AIDS in engaging in light exercises.
The physical roles limitation domain
The physical roles limitation domain refers to the extent to which respondents' performance of their roles in daily activities is impeded im·pede
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.
[Latin imped by their physical state of health. For example, their ability to perform vigorous activities such as lifting heavy objects or to perform moderate activities such as moving a table or pushing a vacuum cleaner vacuum cleaner, mechanical device using a draft of air to remove dust, loose dirt, or other particulate matter from dry surfaces. It is especially useful on highly textured surfaces, such as carpets and upholstery, that are difficult to clean by wiping or brushing. (cf. Ware, Bayliss, Mannocchia & Davis, 1999:2). The results reveal that, in their experience of how the performance of roles is limited by their physical condition, a 7% observable difference exists between AIDS respondents (69%) and the police on active duty sample (76%) (cf. Moller & Petr, 2002:14). Once again the research hypothesis is accepted. Statistically significant differences also exist between the AIDS respondents and members of the police on active duty (p = 1.113). These results confirm the research conducted by Molassiotis et al. (2001:320) who found that HIV/AIDS patients experience difficulty in their physical role functioning, in particular in their day-to-day and career-related responsibilities. The limitation to perform roles often results in people questioning the value of their lives (Sherman, 2001:10). By means of anticipatory socialisation, people living with AIDS can prepare themselves for possible future (disruptive) changes to their lives, for example, as a result of ill-health. This could be achieved with the assistance of primary health-care workers and voluntary and non-governmental associations (Anderson & Taylor, 2001:440). Guidance can also be given in respect of role exit, viz. to disengage dis·en·gage
v. dis·en·gaged, dis·en·gag·ing, dis·en·gag·es
1. To release from something that holds fast, connects, or entangles. See Synonyms at extricate.
2. from a role that is central to one's self-identity and the reestablishment of an identity in a new role that takes into account one's previous role(s) (Wallace & Wolf, 1999:50-51).
The emotional roles limitation domain
The assessment of this domain gives an indication of the extent to which the emotional condition of the respondents, for example, feeling depressed or anxious, limits their daily functioning and ability to perform roles, such as in cutting down on the amount of time spent on work or other activities and accomplishing less than they would like to. From the respondents' scores that were based on this dimension of their health-related quality of life, it is clear that there is observable difference between the AIDS respondents (31%) and the sample of police on active duty (74%) (cf. Moller & Petr, 2002:14). In addition, a t-test shows that statistically significant differences exist between the AIDS respondents and the police on active duty (p = 4.419) in respect of the emotional roles limitation domain. Regarding this quality of life domain, the research hypothesis can therefore be accepted. These findings also correspond with the research done by Molassiotis et al. (2001:320) in that HIV/AIDS patients' emotional functioning change as a result of their ill-health and that they often experienced depression, anxiety and/ or anger.
When people suffering from AIDS report their experience of physical changes, there is usually a reciprocal cycle of associated emotional alterations. "Uncertainty becomes a chronic and pervasive source of psychological distress psychological distress The end result of factors–eg, psychogenic pain, internal conflicts, and external stress that prevent a person from self-actualization and connecting with 'significant others'. See Humanistic psychology. , particularly as it relates to ambiguous symptom patterns, exacerbation ex·ac·er·ba·tion
An increase in the severity of a disease or in any of its signs or symptoms.
ex·ac and remissions of symptoms, and the fear of stigma stigma: see pistil.
mark of Cain
God’s mark on Cain, a sign of his shame for fratricide. [O. T.: Genesis 4:15]
scarlet letter and ostracism ostracism (ŏs`trəsĭz'əm), ancient Athenian method of banishing a public figure. It was introduced after the fall of the family of Pisistratus. . Such uncertainty is linked with negative perceptions of quality of life and poor psychological adjustment. As a result, patients with AIDS are at risk for psychological disorders Noun 1. psychological disorder - (psychiatry) a psychological disorder of thought or emotion; a more neutral term than mental illness
folie, mental disorder, mental disturbance, disturbance , such as depression and anxiety" (Sherman, 2001:8). With the aid of family members, friends, and health-care workers, emotional support could be given to AIDS sufferers, thus helping them to redefine Verb 1. redefine - give a new or different definition to; "She redefined his duties"
define, delimit, delimitate, delineate, specify - determine the essential quality of
2. their situation and develop emotional and problem-oriented coping strategies The German Freudian psychoanalyst Karen Horney defined four so-called coping strategies to define interpersonal relations, one describing psychologically healthy individuals, the others describing neurotic states. , which may contribute to a more positive experience of quality of life (cf. Sherman, 2001:8). (Redefinition Noun 1. redefinition - the act of giving a new definition; "words like `conservative' require periodic redefinition"; "she provided a redefinition of his duties"
definition - a concise explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase or symbol of one's situation, according to Theodorson and Theodorson (1970:105), is when "... an individual examines and evaluates a situation prior to deciding what attitudes and behaviour are appropriate"). Positive emotions, such as hope, enable a person to deal with situations in which needs and goals cannot be met (Akinsola, 2001:159, 160). If motivational and emotional support for people suffering from AIDS is neglected, it could lead to a psychological malaise malaise /mal·aise/ (mal-az´) a vague feeling of discomfort.
A vague feeling of bodily discomfort, as at the beginning of an illness. that is rooted in alienation (cf. Mills, 1968:xvi-xvii). Alienation implies the experience of a feeling of powerlessness, a loss of meaning (Berger & Luckmann, 1966:3), a loss of control, isolation (separation and detachment from respondents' groups), and self-estrangement (the inability to find self-rewarding activities in which to engage oneself) (cf. Seeman, 1959:784-790). This may, in turn, be detrimental to their quality of life.
The social functioning domain
In this context, social functioning refers to social activities and interaction with significant others such as family members, friends, neighbours and other social relations. A comparison between the AIDS respondents (66%) and the police on active duty sample (71%) indicates that an observable difference, although minimal (5%), exists between these two groups' perceptions of their social functioning. Statistically significant differences also exist between the respondents suffering from AIDS and the members of the police on active duty (p = 1.195). In respect of the social functioning domain, the research hypothesis can therefore be accepted.
One of the basic assumptions of sociology is that all human beings are social by nature. In fact, according to the Christian faith, God created people to love and care for one another (cf. Genesis 2:18). It is, therefore, crucial to the well-being of people suffering from AIDS that family members, friends and health-care workers pay attention to the social functioning domain in order to establish a sense of cohesion and the experience of security. Sherman (2001:13), for example, is of the opinion that "patients with AIDS enhanced the quality of their lives through the support of family, their partners, health-care providers, and God".
The bodily pain domain
The results of the bodily pain dimension of the SF-36 questionnaire indicate to what extent the respondents' experience of bodily pain hinders their performance of daily activities, including work-related duties in the public domain and tasks within the home environment. (The items are ranked on the scale ranging from none, very mild, mild, moderate, severe to very severe). A 20% observable difference in the bodily pain domain exists between the AIDS sample (53%) and the police on active duty sample (73%) (cf. Moller & Petr, 2002:15). In addition, the results of a t-test indicate that statistically significant differences exist between these two groups (p = 3.820). These findings correspond with medical evidence that indicates that AIDS patients, due to opportunistic infections Opportunistic infections
Infections that cause a disease only when the host's immune system is impaired. The classic opportunistic infection never leads to disease in the normal host. , may experience extreme levels of pain and discomfort in some cases. (Evian, 2000:28, 32; Molassiotis et al. 2001:325), which affect their overall functioning. The experience of bodily pain inhibits the performance of roles and influences one's social functioning and emotional condition. To illustrate this, Sherman (2001:8) maintains that general estimates of the prevalence of bodily pain in HIV/AIDS-infected individuals range between 25% and 80%. Notwithstanding the existence of medical schemes, it is important to stress that sufficient and affordable medical treatment needs to be made available by the health care system in general, and the South African government in particular, to those who are suffering from severe bodily pain.
The general mental health domain
Theorists such as Rose, Pugh, Lears and Gordon (1998:295) and Molassiotis et al. (2001:329) report significant mood disturbances as well as a low sense of mental well-being among AIDS patients. In the reported study, however, the perceptions of AIDS respondents' (51%) of their general mental health condition (for example, feeling full of pep, being happy, feeling calm and peaceful, being very nervous, or feeling worn out and tired) are not notably lower than the perceptions of the members of the police force (57%) (Moller & Petr, 2002:17). However, according to the results of a t-test, statistically significant differences exist between the AIDS sample and police on active duty sample (p = 1.657). The research hypothesis can, therefore, be accepted. If support is not given to people living with AIDS, in order to improve their mental well-being, it may jeopardise Verb 1. jeopardise - pose a threat to; present a danger to; "The pollution is endangering the crops"
endanger, imperil, jeopardize, menace, peril, threaten
exist, be - have an existence, be extant; "Is there a God?" their social functioning (for example, social activities and interaction with family and friends) as well as their social role performance (Ezzy & De Visser, 1998:196).
The vitality domain
Rose et al. (1998:299) are of the opinion that fatigue is a significant source of morbidity and a loss of vitality in people living with AIDS, which may have an impact on both their daily functioning and quality of life. Regarding the vitality domain of the SF-36 (for example, feeling energetic and full of pep, or worn out and tired), the hypothesis is accepted, notwithstanding the fact that only a small difference of 5% exists between the AIDS sample (53%) and the police on active duty sample (58%) (Moller & Petr, 2002:17). Once again, various support systems, such as significant others and health-care workers could possibly provide effective assistance to improve the quality of life of people suffering from AIDS.
The general health perception domain
Demmer (2001:484) reports that the AIDS respondents in his study rated health-related worries as one of their biggest quality of life concerns. This finding is supported by the fact that a difference of 4% exists between the AIDS respondents' (57%) self-evaluation of their general health condition and that of the respondents who are police on active duty (61%). Once again, the research hypothesis is accepted. The respondents' perception of their general health is measured in terms of concepts such as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor, getting ill easier than other people, and just as healthy as anyone they know. A t-test reveals that, in the general health perception domain, statistically significant differences exist between the sample of people living with AIDS and the sample of members of the police on active duty (p = 1.385).
Limitations of the research
When the possible limitations of the research are considered, the sample size of the AIDS group comes to the fore. Although the sample of people living with HIV/AIDS is relatively small, this sample may serve as an exemplar ex·em·plar
1. One that is worthy of imitation; a model. See Synonyms at ideal.
2. One that is typical or representative; an example.
3. An ideal that serves as a pattern; an archetype.
4. of people who suffer from this disease.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The aim of this study was to explore, measure and compare, by means of the eight multi-item domains of the SF-36 questionnaire, the quality of life of people living with AIDS and members of the police on active duty in Potchefstroom, South Africa. It was found that statistically significant differences exist between the two sample groups in their scores on all eight of the scales of the SF-36 questionnaire. This implies that the perceptions of people suffering from AIDS differ significantly from the perceptions of the members of the police force regarding the eight dimensions of their health-related quality of life, viz. physical functioning, role limitations due to physical, as well as emotional problems, social functioning, bodily pain, general mental health, vitality and general health perception.
More specifically, the respondents suffering from AIDS attained lower scores in all eight of the SF-36 domains and are less satisfied with their health-related quality of life than the sample of police on active duty. The greatest difference between the AIDS respondents and members of the police force exists in the emotional roles limitation dimension (31%), followed by the physical functioning (18%) and the bodily pain (20%) dimensions.
Friedland, Renwick and McColl (1996:17, 22) found that providing social support and assistance to people living with AIDS in the development of coping strategies are important resources in alleviating the stress experienced by these people. They also found "... that people with a serious illness such as AIDS adjust their expectations to life and, as a result, may view their quality of life somewhat positively". The research conducted by Rabkin, Remien, Katoff and Williams (1993:162) confirms this in that the quality of life of AIDS patients may even be enhanced, if these patients receive support from others in the process of developing coping strategies. These findings thus emphasise the importance of research such as the comparative study between the members of the police on active duty and people suffering from AIDS, in developing a better understanding of the eight different dimensions measured with the SF-36 instrument, as experienced and perceived by people living with AIDS.
For the South African population to respond effectively, a comprehensive understanding of the AIDS pandemic Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has led to the deaths of more than 25 million people since it was first recognized in 1981, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. is of vital importance (Shisana & Simbayi, 2002:19). The solution, offered by the World Health Organization (WHO), for unsafe sexual intercourse sexual intercourse
or coitus or copulation
Act in which the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract (see reproductive system). , and the devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. consequences thereof, includes a combination of methods of preventing HIV/AIDS by means of media campaigns, testing and counselling, school programmes, the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases Sexually transmitted diseases
Infections that are acquired and transmitted by sexual contact. Although virtually any infection may be transmitted during intimate contact, the term sexually transmitted disease is restricted to conditions that are largely , and the provision of anti-retroviral drugs (Pienaar, 2002:14). The current South African national AIDS strategy for the prevention of AIDS concurs with that of the WHO by emphasising the promotion of safe sex; improving the management and control of sexually transmitted infections; providing voluntary counselling and testing; addressing issues related to blood transfusion blood transfusion, transfer of blood from one person to another, or from one animal to another of the same species. Transfusions are performed to replace a substantial loss of blood and as supportive treatment in certain diseases and blood disorders. and HIV; reducing mothertochild HIV transmission and providing appropriate post-exposure services (Shisana & Simbayi, 2002:21).
In addition to the services rendered in accordance with the propagated AIDS prevention strategies, existing intervention programmes directed at improving the quality of life of people living with AIDS, ought to be implemented and creative new cost-effective programmes developed. However, in order for all intervention programmes to be effective and the role of civil society, voluntary and non-governmental associations to be successful in enhancing an individual's physical, psychological and social well-being, they need to reflect changes in values, norms (for example, only one sex partner), social structures (for example, the implementation of the current South African national AIDS strategy for the prevention of AIDS), facilities (for example, changes in the provision of voluntary counselling, anti-AIDS medicine) and attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS.
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D Phil (Sociology), University of the Free State The University of the Free State is situated in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State Province, South Africa. Bloemfontein is a modern city offering a full range of recreational, commercial and educational facilities, but which also retains a laid-back atmosphere that
Professor, Department of Sociology Noun 1. department of sociology - the academic department responsible for teaching and research in sociology
academic department - a division of a school that is responsible for a given subject , North-West University
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Senior Lecturer senior lecturer
n. Chiefly British
A university teacher, especially one ranking next below a reader. , Department of Sociology, Rand Afrikaans University
Table 1: Gender profile of the police on active duty and the AIDS sample groups Gender Police on active AIDS respondents duty respondents n % n % Male 56 80% 13 30% Female 14 20% 30 70% Total 70 100% 43 100% Table 2: Age profile of the police on active duty and the AIDS sample groups Age Police on active AIDS respondents duty respondents n % n % <21 -- -- 3 7% 21-25 5 7% 10 23% 26-30 23 33% 12 28% 31-35 28 40% 12 28% 36-40 6 8% 2 5% 41-45 4 6% 1 2% 46-50 1 1% 1 2% 51-55 3 4% 2 5% Total 70 100% 43 100% Table 3: Education profile of the police on active duty and the AIDS sample groups Education Police on active AIDS respondents duty respondents n % n % No formal schooling -- -- 1 2% Grade 1-7 -- -- 17 39% (Grade 1- Std.5) Grade 8-11 (Std. 6-9) 6 9% 14 33% Grade 12 (Std. 10) 50 72% 11 26% Diploma 10 14% -- -- Degree 3 4% -- -- Postgraduate qualification 1 1% -- -- Total 70 100% 43 100% Figure 1: Comparison between members of the police on active duty and people living with AIDS in respect of their perceptions of their quality of life Police sample (n=70) AIDS sample (n=43) Physical functioning 80 62 Physical roles limitation 76 69 Emotional roles limitation 74 43 Social functioning 71 66 Bodily pain 73 53 General mental health 57 51 Vitality 58 53 General health perception 61 57 Note: Table made from bar graph.