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Title: Biographical disruption or reinforcement? : men's life histories of emotional distress
Author: Bradley, Alan
ISNI:       0000 0001 3474 8170
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2006
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The main focus of this thesis has been an investigation into the lives of men who have experienced some form of mental health problem. It has been suggested that mental illness may not be the most helpful way of conceptualising these experiences, as it presupposes the validity of the medical model of explanations and meanings. Instead it has been proposed that the term 'emotional distress' allows for the embodied nature of the experiences, and distances them from medical definitions. The key sociological concept used in the thesis is that of biographical disruption, a notion used by Bury (1982) in the context of chronic illness, and one of the aims of the research has been to establish the usefulness of this concept to research on experiences of emotional distress. The chosen methodology in achieving this aim is that of life-history narratives, which have been used in the study to illustrate the ways in which emotional distress emerges from and impacts upon the lives of individuals. Eight men provided life-history narratives, and these were supplemented by published (auto)biographical accounts, and by my own experiences as a mental health service user. As men were identified as the focus for the research, an investigation into the role of masculinity as a factor which mediates these expenences was also undertaken. Thus, the contribution that the study makes to sociological knowledge is to extend the concepts which have been applied to chronic illness, into the field of emotional health, with a particular focus on biography, on the role of masculinity, and on embodiment and emotions. It also contributes to an understanding of emotional distress, an experience which is often hidden form view. The thesis concludes that all of these sociological ideas are indeed valuable in the search for meaning in the experience of emotional distress.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology ; RC Internal medicine