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Title: A qualitative exploration into the experiences of childhood homophobic victimisation for sexual minority young adults
Author: Wraighte , S. N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 6999
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2014
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Homophobic-bullying is reported to negatively impact on the psychological, social, educational and cultural lives of sexual-minority youth, denigrating their identity, and emphasising their marginalised status. The long-term implications of victimisation on their 'journey' into adulthood remain a poorly misunderstood area of psychology. The present study aimed to explore how sexual-minority young adults construct meaning in the light of their childhood homophobic-victimisation; what coping processes they recall using to survive; and in what ways their childhood victimisation experiences impacted on their self and sexual-identity development, over their life-course. Four female lesbian and bisexual undergraduate university students provided accounts of their childhood homophobic-victimisation and subsequent journey into emerging-adulthood. Data was gathered via semi-structured interviews and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Four superordinate themes were identified. Firstly, ' Constructing the self, the evolving journey' explores how participants' sense of being 'different' and undesirable (acquired through bullying) transformed into becoming 'wrong' and unacceptable. This transformation coincided with participants' experiences of homophobic-bullying and sexual-identity awareness. Participants' transitions from 'victim to warrior' and 'helplessness to saviour' over the course of their life-span were also explored. Secondly, ' Distancing the intolerable' outlines participants' cognitive and social processes of distancing themselves from the position of the victim, the behavioural and psychological consequences of victimhood and their sexuality. Such processes continued into emerging-adulthood, despite most participants ' no longer being bullied. Thirdly, 'My bully-the developing interpretation' explores the changing role of the ' blameworthy self, the' ignorant bullies' to the biggest bully of all- society, in participants' understanding of victimisation. Homophobia as an ' infectious disease' and identification of the positive benefits of their childhood-victimisation were identified. Fourthly, 'Trapped bird breaking free from its shackles' highlights participants’ sense of confinement to the dominating heterosexual norms and life as a repetitive victim. Participants' ' turning points' marked their embarked journey of escape, yet their lingering struggles from A qualitative exploration into the experiences of childhood homophobic victimisation for sexual minority young adults. their victimised past continue on. The clinical implications and need for further research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available