Exploring the potential of a family-based prevention intervention to reduce alcohol use and violence within HIV-affected families in Rwanda
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2016.1176686
HIV-affected families report higher rates of harmful alcohol use, intimate partner violence (IPV) and family conflict, which can have detrimental effects on children. Few evidence-based interventions exist to address these complex issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. This mixed methods study explores the potential of a family-based intervention to reduce IPV, family conflict and problems related to alcohol use to promote child mental health and family functioning within HIV-affected families in post-genocide Rwanda. A family home-visiting, evidence-based intervention designed to identify and enhance resilience and communication in families to promote mental health in children was adapted and developed for use in this context for families affected by caregiver HIV in Rwanda. The intervention was adapted and developed through a series of pilot study phases prior to being tested in open and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in Rwanda for families affected by caregiver HIV. Quantitative and qualitative data from the RCT are explored here using a mixed methods approach to integrate findings. Reductions in alcohol use and IPV among caregivers are supported by qualitative reports of improved family functioning, lower levels of violence and problem drinking as well as improved child mental health, among the intervention group. This mixed methods analysis supports the potential of family-based interventions to reduce adverse caregiver behaviors as a major mechanism for improving child well-being. Further studies to examine these mechanisms in well-powered trials are needed to extend the evidence-base on the promise of family-based intervention for use in low- and middle-income countries.