Families of people with an intellectual disability : exploring the positives

Wigley, Joshua

Health sciences; Social work; Clinical psychology
June 2017

Thesis or dissertation

© 2017 Joshua Wigley. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This portfolio thesis is comprised of three sections: a systematic literature review, an empirical study and a list of appendices.

Part one is a systematic literature review in which a thematic synthesis has been completed to interpret and outline the data from studies which have highlighted positive states and experiences qualitatively reported by non-disabled relatives of people with an intellectual disability (ID). This review rejects the pathological and negative theme across much of the ID literature and, particularly, the literature around family members of people with ID. A systematic search of several electronic databases was completed and 15 studies were included in the review based on a set of inclusion criteria. Three superordinate themes were generated: ‘growth’, considered change from a subjectively less desirable state to a more desirable state; ‘joy’, which describes participants’ positive, joyous and proud moments associated with their disabled relative and ‘developing ways to cope’, which describes mechanisms participants use to help them cope with the inherent stresses associated with ID. The implications of these findings are discussed and an assessment of methodological quality is completed to contextualise the findings.

Part two is an empirical paper exploring the lived experiences of personal growth for adult siblings of people with ID. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to understand the participant’s subjective experience and how they made sense of it. Seven semistructured interviews were completed. Three superordinate themes emerged from the data: ‘developing strength’, which describes participants developing acceptance and resilience and advocating for their sibling; ‘learning opportunities’, which described participants learning skills and developing values and ‘family closeness’, which describes participants’ closeness with their families and pride in their disabled sibling. These findings are discussed in relation to implications for the literature in ID and the wider societal context.

Part three is a list of appendices from both the literature review and empirical paper.

School of Health and Social Work, The University of Hull
Hutchinson, Nick
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