Psychosocial support and marginalization of youth-headed households in Rwanda

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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This research aims to characterize the psychosocial aspects of well-being among youth-headed households (YHH) in Gikongoro, Rwanda, through examination of social support and marginalization. Data is presented on perceived availability of support from relatives, an unidentified adult, peers, and other community members and an index of social marginalization. A total of 692 interviews were completed with YHH age 13-24 who are beneficiaries of a basic needs program. Sixteen percent of youth reported there was no one they felt they could go to with a problem. In times of need, only 24% felt relatives would help them, while 57% felt neighbors would offer assistance. Most youth reported significant caring relationships: 73% reported access to trusted adult who offers them advice and guidance, and most indicated close peer relationships. However, many youth also perceived a lack of community support, with 86% feeling rejected by the community and 57% feeling the community would rather hurt them than help them. Social support is a low-cost critical resource for the care of vulnerable youth and an understanding of existing social support networks would enhance the design and implementation of psychosocial and community-based care initiatives.






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