Constructions of self-identity and experience of diagnosis in adults with intellectual disabilities

Hinsby, Charlotte

Clinical psychology
July 2019

Thesis or dissertation

© 2019 Charlotte Hinsby. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Background: Research exploring self-identity has focused on the meaning of having an intellectual disability with the risk of overshadowing other aspects that affect how people view themselves.

Method: This systematic literature review explores the multifaceted constructions of self-identity in adults with intellectual disabilities. 30 qualitative studies are synthesised thematically, incorporating formal quality assessments.

Results: The experience of power through control, dependence and influential narratives and negotiating the self from others, considering autonomy and seeking normality were related to individuals’ constructions of their identities. The desire to live a meaningful life considering future hopes, the ability to support others and the experience of connectedness contributed to positive self-identities.

Conclusions: Self-identity in adults with intellectual disabilities appears multi-faceted, with a multitude of influences on the construction and expression of identity beyond that of an intellectual disability. The review highlighted a lack of high quality research and indicates the need for further rigorous studies across the literature base.

Department of Psychological Health, Wellbeing and Social Work, The University of Hull
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