In this short report, I discuss the way in which an assumption at the outset of a longitudinal study on HIV-positive mothers has been challenged three years into the study. The assumption concerns the employment status of the participants. The Kgolo Mmogo project1 is investigating the resilience factors in mothers (n=440) and children (n=440) who are dealing with the
affect and effects of HIV&AIDS. The study consists of long-term data collection on the
psychological resilience factors in both groups. The assessment data are paralleled by
intervention research that tracks the effects of a group-based support intervention in terms of which the mothers and children are assigned to groups within a randomised control trial design. In designing the intervention, a basic assumption was that the study would show
variance in the group participation rates of the mothers due to anticipated health fluctuations. As a result, the intervention was designed to make provision for home visits should a mother be absent from three consecutive group sessions. However, preliminary data from the study indicate that absenteeism from groups can more often be explained in terms of new employment
than in terms of health problems. This preliminary finding may have implications for the design of future interventions in respect of mothers affected by HIV&AIDS.