Social Adjustment of Kenyan Orphaned Grandchildren

Abstract: Oburu, P.O. (2004). Social Adjustment of Kenyan Orphaned Grandchildren, Perceived Caregiving Stresses and Discipline Strategies used by their Fostering Grandmothers Department of Psychology, Göteborg University, Sweden The aim of the thesis was to examine whether experienced stress, adjustment of orphans and discipline strategies used by 328 grandmothers were linked to disruptions in life courses that occurs when children are orphaned and elderly caregivers are required to assume extensive parenting roles. For comparative purposes, 113 partially responsible grandmothers and 115 biological mothers were also included in the sample. Study I examined factors contributing to elevated levels of experienced stress by 128 full-time and 113 partially responsible grandmothers. The total stress experienced was investigated using Parenting Stress Index- Short form. Study II investigated the discipline strategies used by 128 full-time and 113 partially responsible grandmothers through self-reported Parent Discipline Interview. The study also determined whether significant levels of experienced stress increased full- time caregiving grandmothers? propensity to employ easily instituted power assertive discipline strategies. Study III compared stress experienced by 136 caregiving grandmothers and 115 biological mothers. The adjustment levels of orphans raised by grandmothers and children living with their own biological parents were also assessed. The main aim of this study was to examine the links between experienced stress and child adjustment difficulties. Child adjustment was assessed using caregiver and teacher rated Strengths and Difficulty Questionnaire. Study IV compared the adjustment levels and composite risk factors that 128 orphaned and 113 non-orphaned children were exposed to. The degree of each child?s exposure to risk factors was quantified by integrating several measures of risks to form a composite risk factor index. Direct associations between risk factors and child adjustment and the interactive functions of protective parenting and family processes in moderating child risk factors were also investigated. Results of Studies I and III indicated that experienced stress was linked to caregiving load, perceived child behavioural difficulty, and perceived lack of emotional and instrumental support. In study II, older caregivers, those experiencing elevated levels of stress or possessing basic education preferred power assertive strategies especially when dealing with transgressions of children over 6 years old. Grandmothers with limited education, those below 62 years, and caregivers of children below 6 years favoured coercive and inductive strategies. There was lack of evidence in Studies III and IV to suggest that orphans raised by grandmothers were less adjusted than did the non-orphaned children. Child adjustment was linked to caregivers? perception of competency, positive caregiver-child relations and availability of instrumental support. Keywords:

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