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Alcohol and Use of Other Drugs Among Young Orphans whose Parents Died of Aids in the City of São Paulo

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Ana Claudia Wendt dos Santos
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Psicologia (IP/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Vera Silvia Facciolla Paiva; Marcos Roberto Vieira Garcia; Ilana Mountian; Daniela Ribeiro Schneider; Cristiane Gonçalves da Silva
Advisor: Vera Silvia Facciolla Paiva

The present doctoral thesis was aimed at investigating the overuse of alcohol and other drugs in houses where youngsters live today, whose parents (one or both) have died as a consequence of Aids, and consists of a subproject belonging to a broader research entitled Stigma and Discrimination Related to HIV/AIDS: Impacts of the Epidemic on Children and Youngsters in the city of São Paulo. The study had an exploratory-descriptive nature. Ten male and female youngsters participated in the study (with an age range of 15 to 24 years old), whose families live in the Northwest and West areas of the city and who participated in previous research. Data was collected through questionnaire-based interviews. Results pointed out to the fact that the context and the relations network in which the young participants were inserted succeeded in preventing them from overusing alcohol and other drugs. Moreover, being an orphan per se only was not seen as a key factor to the increase in terms of vulnerability in the group studied. In the houses visited, one female youngster could be considered an abusive alcoholic, upon which a case study was built. Overall, five semi-structured interviews were carried out, which have allowed to build up her network map. For content analysis purposes, interpretation of the framework of Vulnerability and Psychosocial Approach and Social Support Network Theory was used. In the case study, being orphan per se, as well as the detachment from her family, the fear of stigma, the discrimination for having parents who died of Aids, the lack of access to support, unemployment, among others, were seen as determining factors to increase her vulnerability and abusive use of alcohol. It was evident that the meetings and the talks stimulated by the social support network can contribute to contexts that are often times not included in other theoretical frameworks dealing with overuse of alcohol and other drugs. The Network Map allowed the female youngster to recover and strengthen the attachment with the members of her social support network (family, friends, and attachments in her new job), which are important mediations to help make her future plans come true. It also mitigated her individual vulnerability in relation to the overuse of alcohol in grieving moments. In addition to other methodologies developed on the basis of the framework of vulnerability and human rights, it is believed that such an approach fosters the development of relevant reflections as regards public policies that can tackle the reality of those studied youngsters. Thus, it is hoped that such an effort be everlasting so as to take actions that can prevent and suppress circumstances that are capable of increasing their vulnerability in terms of drug overuse and their dependence on alcohol and other drugs, thus providing important foundation for professionals that deal with people seeking or in treatment (AU)

FAPESP's process: 10/10157-6 - Alcohol and other drugs among young orphans whose parents died of AIDS in São Paulo
Grantee:Ana Cláudia Wendt dos Santos
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate