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Title: How might parents of pre-pubescent children with gender identity issues understand their experience?
Author: Gregor, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 4207
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2013
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Whilst in recent times there has been an increasing interest in the popular media in families with gender variant children, there is still a paucity of academic research into the experience of parenting a pre-pubescent child with gender identity issues. Gender dysphoria in young children engenders powerful reactions in adults, involving the recognition of childhood sexuality, a subject matter considered taboo in Western society. As such, this research explores highly sensitive and intimate aspects of family life, requiring parents to talk and think about difficult issues. This small scale study adopts a case study design in order to explore how it might feel for families attending the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock Clinic, London to parent such a child. Through acting as a ‘bricoleur’ (Denzin & Lincoln: 2000: p3) different and contrasting research methods and theories of gender identity development are explored in order to shed light on this under-researched and hidden area of parental experience. Eight parents were interviewed and their narratives are presented as case studies which can both stand-alone as individual pieces of research, and be understood as a cogent group with overarching themes. Psychosocial research methods of Free Association Narrative Interviews and photo elicitation were used in order to gather the data which was then coded and analysed drawing on the principles of Charmaz’ (2001) constructivist version of grounded theory. Particular attention is also given to unconscious processes that might have been at play between researcher and interviewee such as transference, countertransference and containment. Five key themes relating to the process of mourning emerged from the data: loss, uncertainty, ambivalence, being unable to think and acceptance. Recommendations for both social work and clinical practice and further research are also offered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Soc.Work) Qualification Level: Doctoral