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Title: Identity management by people with a dual diagnosis of 'learning disability' and 'mental illness'
Author: Whittuck, Dora
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 2554
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of people with a 'learning disability' also receiving a diagnosis of 'mental illness'. This shift in practice, heralded as scientific progress, has not been placed under close scrutiny. The aim of the current study was to explore the impact of this recent extension of medicalised accounts on people with a 'learning disability'. A discursive psychological approach was adopted to examine how seven people with a dual diagnosis negotiated and managed their ascribed identities during interviews. The initial research questions focused on the implications of subtle operations of power for individuals with a dual diagnosis, however on examination of the data it became apparent that this phenomenon was clearly evident in the research interviews conducted for the present study. The focus of the analysis was then directed at the sequential and procedural structure of the interviews, as an illustration of how they may be understood as an artefact of asymmetrical social roles and identities. This shift allowed for a greater focus on how the participants constructed their relationships with professionals, using their interaction with the interviewer as psychologist as an exemplar. The results provide further support for findings that individuals cast as questionable utilise strategies for accounting that indicate that they are vastly more 'competent' and 'rational' than they are credited for by the 'psy'-complex. The participants' construction and negotiation of their membership to social categories demonstrates that their identities are not fixed, but instead are occasioned and contestable, and dependent on the local institutional context. A further feature of the analysis highlights the politics that surrounds talk, displayed by the participants' construction of talk with a psychologist as 'helpful', as opposed to other forms of talk, such as talk that serves to challenge, as'unhelpful'. The findings call into question the probity of applying a conceptual framework that locates assumed pathology in individuals already deemed to be wholly impaired. Furthermore, the study highlights the necessity for psychologists, policy makers and researchers to investigate the interactional nature of so called 'impairment', and to explore their roles in creating and perpetuating oppressive practices. Potential avenues for further action are discussed
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available