Dr. phil. Mary Lindner

Gratulation für Frau Mary Lindner zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde

Frau Dr. Mary Lindner erlangte den akademischen Grad 'Doktor der Philosophie' (Dr. phil.) am 27. November 2006. Sie graduierte mit „Magna Cum Laude“.
Das Promotionsvorhaben wurde durch eine wissenschaftliche Kooperation zwischen dem Institut für Public Health: Prävention und psychosoziale Gesundheitsforschung der Freien Universität Berlin, der Fakultät Soziale Arbeit der Hochschule Mittweida sowie der Faculty of Psychology der University of Stellenbosch (Südafrika) ermöglicht. 

Das Disputationskomitee sowie die Disputantin nach erfolgreichem Abschluss (von links): Prof. Dr. G. Ehlert (Supervisorin der Hochschule Mittweida), Prof. Dr. A. Auckenthaler (Prüferin der Freien Universität Berlin), Dr. B. Gusy (Prüfer der Freien Universität Berlin), Prof. Dr. L. Swartz (Supervisor der University of Stellenbosch), Dr. M. Lindner (Disputantin), Prof. Dr. D. Kleiber (Supervisor der Freien Universität Berlin).

Summary – Doctoral Thesis

Evaluation Study on the Effects of the Child Mind Project:
A school–based Life Skills Programme on HIV/AIDS and Sex Education at a Primary School in a South African semi–urban Environment (Kayamandi, Stellenbosch).


Approximately two thirds (25.8 million) of the world’s population infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are currently living in the sub-Saharan region. In South Africa, more than five million inhabitants are infected with the HIV-Virus. The South African group most vulnerable to HIV infection is young people between 20 and 34 years of age. It can thus be assumed that adolescents and children under the age of 15 are a less infected group and should therefore be the major target of primary preventive approaches.

Aim of Study

Consequently, this study is aimed at encouraging those skills and competencies required to cope with prevalent life tasks and to enhance the development of health behaviour to reduce the risk of HIV infection among pre-adolescent children (10-11 years of age) before the onset of sexual activity. This is done by means of a non-governmental and school-based life skills programme on AIDS and sex education, for socially disadvantaged children in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.


The study, which is theoretically based on the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) by Bandura (1986), used three types of evaluation to assess the personal, interpersonal and social context of the intervention undertaken. The outcome evaluation comprised a quasi-experimental research design with four test phases and was conducted by means of a self-administered questionnaire containing three psychological variables and two social variables. A process evaluation used the instruments of participant observation and reports to examine attitudes towards the intervention and other participating children as well as the health promotion trainers. A needs analysis, using the qualitative instrument of field interviews, examined risks and resources for child health within the environment of the case study.

Research Results

The results of the quantitative evaluation verify a significant increase in the participants’ knowledge about HIV and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) from pretest to posttest phase. However, the follow-up tests show that the effect of the programme is not sustainable due to a relapse into a pretest knowledge level. Facing the insufficient sustainability of the evaluated programme, the results of the field interviews support the assumption that a magnitude of risk factors is evident in the environment of those children participating in the programme. These conditions assumingly not only negatively influence the mental, physical and social health from an early age on but reduce the effect of the intervention undertaken in this context. The thesis therefore concludes with recommendations for AIDS preventive and strengthening approaches for non-infected children living under these specific socio-economic and socio- cultural conditions, as they are most vulnerable to HIV infection.


  • Lindner, M. (2010). A Child’s Mind Required! Evaluation Results on a Health Promoting Initiative on AIDS and Sex Education for Primary Schools. Opladen & Farmington Hills: Budrich Verlag.
  • Lindner, M. & Mengering F. (2009). AIDS–Prävention mit sozial benachteiligten Kindern in Südafrika. Evaluation eines Pilotprojektes in einem Township. Journal of Prevention and Public Health (04/2009). Heidelberg: Springer Verlag. (Band 4, Heft 4). (Translation: AIDS prevention amongst socially disadvantaged children in South Africa. Evaluation of a pilot project in a township).
  • Lindner, M. (2005). Die Entstehung eines gesundheitsriskanten Lebensortes in einem südafrikanischen Elendsviertel: Die Geschichte von Kayamandi unter Betrachtung geographischer und soziodemographischer Entwicklungen von 1939 bis zur Gegenwart. In: B. Friele, A. Stickel, A. Davidovic (Eds.). Geschichtliche Entwicklungen in der Kritik. Viertes Doktorandenseminar der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung. Manuskript 59. Berlin: Karl Dietz Verlag. (Translation: The development of a high health risk living area exemplified by a South African township: The history of Kayamandi in consideration of geographical and socio-demographic developments from 1939 until the present day).
  • Lindner, M. (2004). Macht den Machtlosen – Südafrikanische Kinder lernen für ein Leben ohne HIV/AIDS. Berlin: SODI Newsletter. (Translation: Glimmer of Hope for South African Children in the AIDS pandemic).