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Title: The experiences of adoptive mothers : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Harris, Charlotte
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 5038
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2012
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Research suggests that little is known about the experiences of adoptive parents, particularly adoptive mothers, who are seen to be a hidden population within the academic literature. This study explores the experiences of nine adoptive mothers living in a small unitary authority in the UK. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data, which was then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Three superordinate themes emerged from the data: 'Becoming 'Mum', 'The Melting Pot of Emotion', 'Social Stigma of Adoption'. Demonstrating the complexity and diversity of the women's experience, three less common themes were also identified: 'Fragility of Adoption', 'The Reward of Adoption', 'The Child Mediating the Experience'. The women's experience conveys the overwhelming nature of adoptive motherhood, and supports the notion of adoptive motherhood as a multifaceted social phenomenon. A parallel between these findings and the motherhood literature is seen, with the feminist discourse of society emerging from the women's interviews. Of particular interest is the influence of psychological theory and the perceived continued social stigma on the experiences of adoptive mothers. It is argued that the insights the study provides are important for the professional practice of Educational Psychologists and Adoption Services, and future areas for exploration are suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral