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Title: What is the experience of being female with a High Functioning Autism diagnosis? : an interpretative phenomenological inquiry
Author: Lantz, Nathalie Therese
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 9463
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2019
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There is a vast amount of literature concerning the male profile of autism; our knowledge of the female profile, however, is largely unclear. This lack of knowledge can result in misinterpretation and misunderstanding of autism and how it affects each individual (Davidson, 2008; Kirkovski et al., 2013; Kresier & White, 2014). This research study explored the lived experience of being a woman with a high-functioning autism (HFA) diagnosis. Specifically, this study aimed to explore the question: What is the experience of being female with an HFA diagnosis? Semi-structured interviews were held with seven women with an HFA diagnosis. Following data collection, the interviews were transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The findings revealed three superordinate themes: 1."You are nothing like rain man" 2. "I am just like everyone else ... Or am I?" and 3. "Becoming me". The findings of this study have highlighted the complexity of challenges that these women experience in their daily lives, partly through a dual interaction between living with a 'male-biased' diagnosis and cultural and social expectations of femininity. Specifically, this study highlighted the mother-daughter dyad and the particular challenges two different ways of communicating may present for this relationship. Additionally, it has given further support for the idea of females and 'masking', and the effort and possible consequences this way of living may have on their mental health. The findings of this study generate useful and important reflections about what it may be like as a female living with autism in a predominantly neurotypical (PNT) world. The insights gained from the women in this study have important consequences, and the study aims to contribute to knowledge and practice in the field of counselling psychology and allied professions and to the process of developing psychological support and interventions for girls and women with autism.
Supervisor: Gkouskos, Stelios ; Kasket, Elaine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available