Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.582221
Title: Exploring gender identity within the context of Asperger's syndrome
Author: Elliott, Victoria J.
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
Gender identity is an integral part of who we are and can have a huge impact on our functioning, behaviour, and psychological well-being. For years, researchers and theorists have studied the developmental course of gender identity including why, how, and when it is formed, and how it shapes our neurobiology and psychology. The first chapter of this thesis reviews existing literature on the relationships between gender identity and psychological well-being across the course of childhood. The review indicates that psychosocial adjustment and self-worth are highest when children feel secure in their gender identity, yet able to explore gender atypical options. Feelings of gender atypicality or dysphoria are associated with poorer psychological outcomes and vulnerability to mental ill health, particularly depression.The review highlights various methodological limitations within the literature and suggests improvements such as using more socially diverse samples. Chapter two presents an empirical study exploring gender and identity in adult men with Asperger’s Syndrome capturing their perceptions of masculinity, gender-typed behaviours, relationships, and societal influences. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the data suggests that for participants, identifying with male gender provides a platform for fitting in by allowing them to learn from societal stereotypes and rehearse playing ‘male’ roles. Participants displayed ambivalence in their feelings of being drawn to the perceived safety of females but resenting the ‘feminine’ side of themselves. Recommendations are made for psychoeducation for Gender identity is an integral part of who we are and can have a huge impact on our functioning, behaviour, and psychological well-being. For years, researchers and theorists have studied the developmental course of gender identity including why, how, and when it is formed, and how it shapes our neurobiology and psychology. The first chapter of this thesis reviews existing literature on the relationships between gender identity and psychological well-being across the course of childhood. The review indicates that psychosocial adjustment and self-worth are highest when children feel secure in their gender identity, yet able to explore gender atypical options. Feelings of gender atypicality or dysphoria are associated with poorer psychological outcomes and vulnerability to mental ill health, particularly depression.The review highlights various methodological limitations within the literature and suggests improvements such as using more socially diverse samples. Chapter two presents an empirical study exploring gender and identity in adult men with Asperger’s Syndrome capturing their perceptions of masculinity, gender-typed behaviours, relationships, and societal influences. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the data suggests that for participants, identifying with male gender provides a platform for fitting in by allowing them to learn from societal stereotypes and rehearse playing ‘male’ roles. Participants displayed ambivalence in their feelings of being drawn to the perceived safety of females but resenting the ‘feminine’ side of themselves. Recommendations are made for psychoeducation for professionals and parents of children with Asperger’s syndrome around potential gender identity confusion. The third chapter presents a reflective review of the author’s experience of conducting the research. The paper provides a personal insight into issues pertaining to methodological processes, relationships with participants and associated emotions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.582221  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
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