Exploring the Link Between Mental Health of Caregivers and the Orphaned and Abandoned Children They Care for: An Investigation in Delhi, India

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2020-04

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Abstract

Alternative care models for orphaned and abandoned children (OACs) have recently become a priority, especially in nations like India, with high populations of OACs. Despite the shift from institutional care towards a family-based model of alternative care in which caregivers are a central part of the residential care ecosystem, there is still a great lack of research exploring the mental health of OAC caregivers and the impact that caregiver mental health has on OAC wellbeing. This study involved interviewing 123 children and 34 caregivers within a residential care program that comprised 14 individual homes. Participants were administered psychometric questionnaires to gauge anxiety, depression, trauma, and caregiver attachment. The results identified the high trauma and negative psychological sequelae facing this program’s caregivers. Additionally, caregiver mental health outcomes were not found to be associated with child mental health outcomes. While this work did not statistically link caregiver mental health with child mental health, it is inevitable that a shared living environment intimately exposes each group to the other. To this end, more research is needed to understand the nuances of how traumatic life histories affect a caregiver’s mental health, parenting ability, and the mental health of the children they care for.

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Vashisth, Shagun (2020). Exploring the Link Between Mental Health of Caregivers and the Orphaned and Abandoned Children They Care for: An Investigation in Delhi, India. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20423.


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