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Title: Identity and acceptance of mental health problems and related disabilities in individuals with severe and enduring mental health problems
Author: Macnamara, Joanna C.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3615 8924
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2001
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The research literature proposes that the concept of identity may be central to understanding responses to having severe and enduring mental health problems. Theorists hypothesise a relationship between identity and the individual's acceptance of having mental health problems mediated by societal pressures. Given the inconclusive findings from research carried out a decade ago, this study has attempted to explore whether the participants' identification as a community member or patient affected, or was affected by, their belief that they have mental health problems, need medication, need to see healthcare professionals and their awareness of disabilities. A quantitative methodology was employed to examine the main variables. Forty five individuals living in the community with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder or schizoaffective disorder were interviewed. Both within-group and between-group analyses were employed. The relationship between the independent variables and their relationships with sociodemographic and diagnostic factors, self-esteem and health and social functioning were explored. Measures that had been either standardised or used in previous related research were employed. The three central measures were taken from previous research studies in this area. Socio-demographic information was obtained from clinical files. Neither beliefs about mental health problems nor awareness of disabilities were found to be associated with identity, as measured in this study. Health and social functioning and work-related variables appeared to contribute to an identification as a community member. It is suggested that defensive responses to disabilities existed to protect the individual's sense of self-worth. Furthermore, socially valued experiences prior to illness and level of ability may have contributed to the participants' identification as a community member. The clinical implications are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Schizophrenia; Bipolar affective disorder; Self-worth