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Title: Gender-role beliefs and the self-perception of women with learning disabilities : meanings of motherhood and attributions for childlessness
Author: Gratton, Caroline A. J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3511 9122
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 1999
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Aims of Present study In contrast to mainstream literature gender as a frame of reference has not been applied to people with learning disabilities. The present study emerged from the need to redress this imbalance. Specifically, the study aimed to investigate both gender-attitudes and gender typing of the self in women with learning disabilities. A further aim was to focus on one traditional female role in some detail: women's perceptions about motherhood and beliefs/experiences of childlessness. Design and measures The study is cross-sectional and employs a within and between groups design. Both quantitative and qualitative research paradigms were used. Part one of the study consisted of the administration of a gender inventory (OAT-PM/AM) to eighteen women with learning disabilities. A control group of eighteen non-disabled women also completed the inventory. Part two involved semi-structured interviews with six women with learning disabilities on issues relating to motherhood and childlessness. Results Results demonstrated some significant differences between the groups of women using the gender measure (OAT-PM/AM). Qualitative data obtained from the interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 1995). Conclusions Women with learning disabilities were found to hold less flexible gender attitudes than the non-disabled women. Furthermore, they were found to aspire to traditional female roles more than masculine roles. Interestingly, women with learning disabilities were found to engage in less traditional female activities than the non-disabled group. Data from the interviews served to highlight the distress which may be experienced by the loss of the motherhood role. Both clinical and service implications which emerged from the research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Psychology