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Title: Help-seeking and distress : exploring the attitudes and experiences of minor-attracted people in the UK
Author: Sibbald, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 3411
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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Background: Research on the clinical needs of minor attracted people (MAPs) is extremely limited. Despite evidence to suggest that not all individuals with a sexual attraction to minors commit sexual offences, current support for MAPs tends to focus on the prevention of offending as its primary aim, yet we do not currently have a good understanding of what the needs of MAPs are. The current study therefore aimed to explore MAPs in the UK, to better understand their needs, and views on seeking professional help. Method: Twenty-eight MAPs completed an online survey, answering open-ended questions about their wellbeing, views, and experiences of seeking help. Categorical data was collected on the types of problems they experienced and their priorities for support. A qualitative inductive thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to analyse responses. Results: Analysis yielded four superordinate themes - 1.0 Living with a Stigmatised Identity, 2.0 A Need for Help in my Own Right, 3.0 Asking for Help is Risky and, 4.0 Current Help Does not meet our Needs - that highlighted the distress experienced by MAPs in relation to stigma, the social isolation and the fears associated with asking for help. Help was considered difficult to find and overly focused on risk of offending which most MAPs felt did not meet their needs. Discussion: The findings suggest that MAPs experience distress and a desire to access help but there are significant barriers to accessing help. Future research to consider the views of health professionals on offering therapy to MAPs is required. Consideration needs to be given to the confidentiality offered by services, the knowledge of mental health professionals on minor-attraction and the general impact of minor attraction stigma in society.
Supervisor: Draycott, Simon ; Gleeson, Kate Sponsor: NHS Surrey & Borders (University of Surrey)
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral