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Title: Sexual and gender identity development in young people with learning disabilities during the translation to adulthood
Author: Wilkinson, Verity Jane
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
Aim: During the transition into adulthood, emerging adulthood is characterised by continuous identity negotiations. However, for young people with learning disabilities (LD) the LD identity may overshadow the development of other important identities (Burns, 1993; 2000). The effect of the LD identity on how young people negotiate and understand sexual and gender identities during this key developmental stage requires further exploration (Beart, Hardy, & Buchan, 2005). This study conducted an in-depth exploration of young people and their carers' experiences of understanding and negotiating the development of sexual and gender identity alongside the LD identity. Methods: Four young people with LD and four of their carers were interviewed. The data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: Three master themes emerged concerning young people and their carers' struggle for an 'as normal as possible' adult identity; struggle to develop sexual identity as a 'normal' identity; and struggle to develop gender identity as a 'normal' identity, in the context of the overshadowing LD identity. Conclusions: Despite young people's position that they should be enabled to develop sexual and gender identities as part of their transition to adulthood, they faced many obstacles, including stigma related to their LD. Carers described their challenges in proactively supporting sexual and gender identity education and exploration, due to concerns about risk. Equality and protection need 110t be either/or priorities. Initiatives to support young people to explore their sexuality safely require funding and service. support to extend the work they do (Denny, 2013; lones, 2011). There remains need for considerable change in UK practice and policy if the principles of rights, independence, choice and inclusion espoused in Valuing People and Valuing People Now (Department of Health, 2001; 2009) are to be met in relation sexual and gender identity development in people with LD as they transition to adulthood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.604554  DOI: Not available
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