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Title: A paradox of brokenness to strength : an interpretive phenomenological analysis of factors influencing looked after children's identity development
Author: Horgan, Suzanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 1445
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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Looked after children (LAC) are some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded in society (McParlin, 1996). This qualitative study aims to explore LAC perceptions of the development of self and/or identity, and to address critique about previous research being ‘atheoretical’. Literature on ‘identity’ and ‘stigma from a variety of different perspectives are drawn on to provide a lens through which LAC experiences can be understood. A constructivist-interpretive approach was used, with semi-structured, face to face interviews as the method of data collection. Seven interviews (aged 13-17) were conducted, which were recorded and transcribed, with an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis of data performed (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). The five superordinate themes that resulted from the IPA of the data were: Theme 1: SHATTERED SELF; Theme 2: FEELING DIFFERENT; Theme 3: DANCE WITH STIGMA; Theme 4: PIVOTAL MOMENTS AND MEANING MAKING; and Theme 5: RE-ESTABLISHING IDENTITY AND TURNING TOWARDS THE FUTURE. These themes are discussed in relation to extant literature and theoretical approaches to identity development and stigma. Results indicated that being taken into care profoundly disrupted a pre-existing identity and removed continuity and coherence in participants’ lives. For many of the young people, once they had entered care, they experienced daily struggles with themselves and others. Analysis revealed a sense of brokenness as well as transformation with many reporting personal growth as a result of their journey. The findings also highlight the importance of ‘meaning making’ in determining a more advanced identity development. Practical applications to the role of the EP and limitations are discussed with some suggestions for further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology