Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Parents with learning disabilities : perception of assumptions made by health and social care professionals about their right and ability to be a parent
Author: Rose, Joanna
Awarding Body: University of Lincoln
Current Institution: University of Lincoln
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The number of people with learning disabilities (LD) who become parents is rapidly increasing, as opportunities widen for people with LD to participate in all aspects of society. However, parents with LD continue to face negative attitudes and potential discrimination from both professionals and the wider community, based on erroneous assumptions, stemming from eugenic principles. This thesis investigated the experiences of parents with LD, with regard to the assumptions they encounter or perceive from the professionals who support them. Although previous research has established the continued existence of negative attitudes amongst professionals, no research has considered the awareness and impact of such assumptions from the perspective of the parents themselves. Thematic analysis was deemed an appropriate methodology to address the gap in qualitative research with this population, a method which allowed investigation of parents’ experiences while providing the flexibility to accommodate the particular abilities of people with LD. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten parents with LD, whose children remained living at home with them following an assessment of their parenting. Following analysis of interview transcripts, four overarching themes were established, based on their frequency and importance for participants. In the first super-ordinate theme, parents attributed a number of negative attitudes to professionals, at times based on directly expressed assumptions by professionals, but most often inferred without direct experience. A second related, but distinct theme was parents’ experiences of treatment by professionals. The instances of negative treatment parents described may have led to the attribution of assumptions by professionals. However, it is equally possible that parents’ pre-conception of professional assumptions influenced the way they experienced professional treatment. A third theme related to the impact of both inferred professional assumptions and treatment on parents, particularly in terms of emotional consequences and willingness to engage. Given that parents were all aware of negative assumptions, a final theme considered the extent to which parents internalised negative assumptions and applied them to themselves. Additional themes in an extended paper highlighted examples of good practice, leading to a number of recommendations for professionals working with parents with LD. For all ten parents, the importance of constructive and empowering professional relationships, as opposed to paternalistic and disempowering treatment based on outdated assumptions was emphasised. These results represent the first exploration of parents with LD’s awareness and experience of negative assumptions and stigma, and have clear implications in terms of professional approaches to working with parents with LD.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: C840 Clinical Psychology