The role of family stories, reminiscing and adverse life experiences in the development and understanding of individual identity

Colbridge, Alicia K. (2016) The role of family stories, reminiscing and adverse life experiences in the development and understanding of individual identity. D.Clin.Psychol. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Identity formation may be more complex for those who have been in foster care in the face of childhood abuse, difficult relationships, unstable environments and multiple care contexts but this does not imply there is anything pathological about it. Given the higher levels of mental health difficulties in looked after children and the known role identity has in mental health, whether as a risk or a protective factor, it seems clinically significant to investigate what factors help construct or hinder the formation of identity for those who have been in care.
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse semi-structured interviews of eight female care-leavers about the understanding of their identity development.
Three superordinate themes emerged which encapsulated participants’ identity development. These included Construction of identity – How I became me, Understanding of identity – Who am I and Experience of identity – How my identity plays out.
Participants’ construction of identity can be understood in the context of early adverse environments and developmental trauma. This construction of self, in turn mediates how participants understand and experience their identity. Findings were discussed in relation to previous research and limitations were outlined. Implications for future research included giving fuller consideration to the role of developmental trauma in identity formation. Clinical implications encourage understanding of looked after children and care-leavers in the context of developmental trauma, rather than focusing on symptoms of various diagnoses.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: identity, looked after children, care-leavers, developmental trauma, mental health
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0712 Developmental psychology > BF0724 Adolescence
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0697 Differential psychology. Individuality. Self
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0697 Protection, assistance and relief
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Mrs Kathy Chaney
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2016 09:46
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2016 17:19

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00