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Title: Social media, mental health and recovery
Author: Fullarton, K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 3764
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2020
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Opportunities provided by Social Networking Sites (SNS) to voice opinions, challenge discourses, access information, and form networks of support have led SNS to be framed as empowering for people with mental health (MH) problems. However, existing research on the relationships between SNS and empowerment is limited and contradictory. This study aimed to build a theoretical model of this complex area. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten people with mental health difficulties regarding their use of SNS. Transcripts were analysed using a constructivist Grounded Theory methodology. A cyclical model was developed, representing how participants weigh up issues of safety and opportunity to gain a positive sense of MH identity, evaluate feedback and renegotiate use of SNS. The extent to which participants feel able to make stigmatised aspects of themselves ‘visible’ is key, activating empowering processes such as catharsis, feeling part of a supportive community and gaining a sense of value and purpose. If risks are perceived as outweighing rewards, participants engage in disempowering processes of censorship, or silencing and hiding stigmatised aspects, which perpetuates feelings of shame and isolation. Findings are discussed in relation to extant theories of SNS use, identity and empowerment and clinical and research implications outlined.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Media ; Empowerment ; Identity ; Stigma ; Mental health