Helplessness, depression, and social support among people being treated for tuberculosis in South Africa
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Based on the outcome of a previous qualitative study in the same setting it was hypothesized that assessing the prevalence and severity of helplessness and depression, and the quality of social support among people with tuberculosis (TB) may provide indicators of how to provide interventions to enhance their quality of life. Building on the results of previous research it was found that among people with TB who were attending a public health clinic in the Cape Metropole area of South Africa the psychosocial factors that had a negative influence on adherence to the Directly Observed Short Course program were feelings of helplessness (10.9% of the group in the study), depression (64.3%), and inadequate social support. The majority of participants received the most social support from their close relatives. These findings indicate that the assessment and treatment programs at this health site should also be focused on screening for depression and providing necessary interventions where appropriate.
Ultimately, these interventions should reduce the burden of TB as an infectious disease.