The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

A systematic review on the meaning of the concept 'AIDS Orphan':confusion over definitions and implications for care

Sherr, Lorraine, Varrall, Rebecca, Mueller, Joanne, Richter, Linda, Wakhweya, Angela, Adato, Michele, Belsey, Mark, Chandan, Upjeet, Drimie, Scott, Haour-Knipe Victoria Hosegood, Mary, Kimou, Jose, Madhavan, Sangeetha, Mathambo, Vuyiswa and Desmond, Chris (2008) A systematic review on the meaning of the concept 'AIDS Orphan':confusion over definitions and implications for care AIDS Care, 20, (5), pp. 527-536. (doi:10.1080/09540120701867248). (PMID:18484320).

Record type: Article


Global publications on the international AIDS epidemic report on the existence of an ever-increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children. It has been suggested that by the end of this decade there will be in excess of 25 million AIDS orphans globally, an issue which will require understanding and organisation of long-term medical, psychological and social support. This study provides a systematic review to examine the use, overuse and misuse of the term orphan and explores the benefits and limitations of this approach. It then summarises the knowledge on orphans to date. Using a search strategy of published studies and recent conference abstracts, 383 papers were identified where the concept of AIDS and Orphan was raised. The papers were systematically coded and reviewed to understand when and how a child is labelled an orphan, and to summarise the effect of orphanhood on outcome measures, most notably psychologically and physically. All controlled studies published prior to 2006 were reviewed. A consistent picture of negative effects of parental death (however defined) on a wide range of physical, socioeconomic and psychological outcomes were recorded. Seventeen studies met criteria for in-depth review (empirical, fully published, control group). The majority of studies are cross-sectional (two are longitudinal) and employ a very wide array of measures - both standardised and study specific. This detailed analysis shows a mixed picture on outcome. Although most studies report some negative effects, there are often no differences and some evidence of protective effects from quality of subsequent care and economic assistance. The lack of consistent measures and the blurring of definitions are stumbling blocks in this area

PDF Sherr_et_al_2008_systematic_review_orphanhood.pdf - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (137kB)

More information

Published date: May 2008


Local EPrints ID: 184663
ISSN: 0954-0121
PURE UUID: ebfe14fa-7aa3-4632-a1b4-a474b5457395
ORCID for Mary Haour-Knipe Victoria Hosegood: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 May 2011 09:13
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:51

Export record



Author: Lorraine Sherr
Author: Rebecca Varrall
Author: Joanne Mueller
Author: Linda Richter
Author: Angela Wakhweya
Author: Michele Adato
Author: Mark Belsey
Author: Upjeet Chandan
Author: Scott Drimie
Author: Jose Kimou
Author: Sangeetha Madhavan
Author: Vuyiswa Mathambo
Author: Chris Desmond

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.