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Title: The lived experience of fathers of children with an autism spectrum disorder
Author: McKenna , Clare
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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This doctoral thesis explores the lived experiences of fathers of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It includes a literature review, a research paper, a critical review and an ethics section. The literature review aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the experiences' of parents of children with ASD by synthesising the available qualitative literature. The meta-synthesis yielded four third-order themes: Adjusting to ASD; Coping with the Challenges of ASD; The Personal Impact of ASD; The relational impact of ASD. The findings suggest that parenting a child with ASD is a complex experience which can ./ have a multi-faceted impact upon parents. Clinical implications, limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed; specifically that future research should differentiate between mothers' and fathers' experiences. Having identified the absence of any studies exploring the experience of fathers of children with ASD, the research paper aimed to address this gap in the evidence-base. Oneto- one semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants. Transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Four over-arching themes were identified and discussed in relation to previous literature: 'ASD unites and divides'; 'life revolves around the child with ASD'; 'becoming a different person' and 'the highs and lows of the ASD journey'. The findings suggest that fathers are an integral part of the ASD journey and experience both positive and negative consequences. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are discussed. The critical review explored three pertinent issues associated with the research paper: the experience of conducting research with fathers; the questionable fluidity of the boundaries between research and therapy; and participants' positive reflections and the implications that this has for future research. These issues are discussed in relation to the existing literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available