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Title: Psychological needs of young adults leaving the care system
Author: Murphy, Rhian
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2011
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Although there is an identified need for psychological services to work therapeutically with young adults leaving care (care leavers), there is a paucity of research examining the psychological constructs which may underlie reported distress in a care leaver population. There are plausible links between attachment theory and schema theory, but research investigating them is in its infancy. If made clearer, such links may usefully guide therapeutic interventions for care leavers. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the self-reported psychological needs of care leavers. More specifically, the study aimed to examine the relationships between psychological distress, adult attachment, and early maladaptive schemas (EMS) in this group. The study also aimed to augment existing literature on the relationships between internal working models (IWMs) within attachment theory, and EMS within schema theory as conceptualised by Young et al. (2003). A total number of 50 care leavers aged 18-22 were recruited. They were all in contact with a leaving care team in one of five social services departments in South Wales. Self-report measures were used to assess psychological distress, adult attachment and EMS (considered within five schema domains). Care leavers with the highest reported levels of psychological distress also reported the highest degree of attachment anxiety (most negative IWMs of self), highest degree of attachment avoidance (most negative IWMs of others) and the most pronounced schema domains. Significant differences were observed in the reported levels of psychological distress and the prominence of schema domains in participants with different attachment styles, with most notable differences between the secure and fearful avoidant attachment style groups. Clinical and theoretical implications of the study findings are discussed in detail and areas for future research are suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology