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Title: Intimate relationships : the experiences of lesbian and gay people living with severe mental health difficulties
Author: Robertson, Jennie
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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Authors have suggested that people living with severe mental health difficulties may experience problems in intimate relationships (IRs) (e.g. McCann, 2003). However, the quality and meaning of IR experiences in this population are relatively unknown. Five studies have addressed this gap in the literature (Davison & Huntington, 2010; McCann, 2000, 2010; 65tman, 2008; Volman & Landeen, 2007). Although these studies offer important insights, they do not account for the specific experiences of sexual minority service users, the effects of institutionalisation on IRs, or the role of IRs in recovery from mental health difficulties. This study addresses these gaps and explores the inpatient experiences of lesbian and gay (LG) service users in relation to their IRs/IR needs, and their experiences of the relationship between their IRs/ IR needs and recovery. The study employed a qualitative design and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three gay men and three lesbians (aged 31•57 years), all of whom had been resident on an inpatient ward within the last five years. Bisexual people did not participate. Five master themes emerged from the data analysis which characterised IR experiences for these participants: 'redefining intimacy'; 'a reciprocal relationship in recovery: IRs and mental health'; 'the ward environment: a barrier to forming and maintaining IRs'; 'prejudice and discrimination: barriers to forming and maintaining IRs'; and 'being a service user: the loss of power and personal identity'. These themes are discussed in relation to the research questions and existing theory and research, and potential theoretical and clinical implications and areas for future research are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available