A field study of counselling for improving social participation of leprosy affected persons in Jammu and Kashmir
People affected with leprosy are severely stigmatised, restricting their participation at home, in communities, and at the workplace. It further aggravates their stigma levels as participation restriction causes emotional harm, economic disadvantages, and social ostracism, in addition to hampering treatment.
To measure the correlation of various sociodemographic factors influencing participation restriction of leprosy-affected persons and the impact of interventions through counselling for preventing social exclusion.
A cross-sectional pre- and post-counselling survey about social participation of leprosy-affected persons.
The P-scale was used to measure the participation restriction of 120 leprosy-affected persons, living in former leprosy colonies. Group counselling sessions were conducted to improve social participation. Various statistical tools were used to analyse the P-scale scores.
Every leprosy-affected person reported some level of participation restriction; severe to extreme participation restriction was found in most, with a few having mild or moderate restriction. The demographic profiles of leprosy-affected persons influence the severity of the participation restriction. Participation restriction in females is higher than in males; those over 40 years of age face more restrictions than those who are younger; disabled and unemployed persons reported higher participation restriction than those who are part-time employees or homemakers, and the unmarried reported higher restrictions than those who are married. Counselling resulted in notable improvements in social participation.
Counselling not only has an overall positive impact on social participation but its impact was highly influenced by demographic variables, particularly amongst those who are disabled or unemployed.