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Title: Mania, meaning and gender : an exploratory study to investigate women's experiences of mania
Author: Paveley, Fiona
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 0495
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2006
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Research suggests that there may be gender differences in the form and course of bipolar disorder (manic depression). Much research exists that explores the relationship between gender and depression in women. The aim of this study, therefore, was to explore women's subjective experiences of mania and to examine how conceptions of gender may have shaped those experiences. This study also considered the extent to which women's experiences of mania (and depression) accord with the concept of bipolar disorder. This study was concerned with the meaning of the women's experiences within the context of their social, economic and relational lives. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore seven women's accounts of mania (and depression) which were then analysed from a Critical Realist standpoint using a qualitative approach, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Despite moments of creativity and apparent empowerment, mania emerged as a complex and often frightening phenomenon. Six themes were identified. These were concerned with: autonomy and loss of control; maintaining a coherent sense of self; 'paranoia'; a need for explanations; loss; and contradictory responses to depression. It was notable, however, that no theme was identified which was explicitly concerned with gender. Traditional categorical diagnostic approaches failed adequately to describe the women's actual experiences. It is suggested their accounts of mania (and depression) might be better accommodated within a psychological understanding of mental distress that considers the meaning and function of unusual experiences and beliefs. The clinical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed and further areas for research outlined.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available