Experiences of same-sex oriented women in relation to psychological wellbeing

Ingham, Charlotte and Simpson, Jane (2015) Experiences of same-sex oriented women in relation to psychological wellbeing. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis explores issues related to same-sex oriented women's psychological wellbeing, including their experiences of same-sex partner bereavement in later life and their experiences of informal social support. The literature review explored how non-heterosexual women experience informal social support. A metasynthesis was conducted exploring the findings of 16 papers identified through a systematic literature search. Four main themes were derived: (i) Disconnection from family life, (ii) The benefits of cross-sexual orientation friendships, (iii) Negotiating (internalised) homophobia and seeking a space for authenticity, and (iv) The intimacy of friendships between women. Collectively these themes represent non-heterosexual women's experiences of social support and friendship in the context of a heteronormative culture. Clinical implications outline a role for social, psychological and societal interventions to assist non-heterosexual women in developing supportive networks, to improve psychological wellbeing. The research paper explored the experiences of same-sex partner bereavement in older women. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight women. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Analysis identified a number of concepts that have been extensively documented in previous research on bereavement with other groups, including heterosexual older people. These were not discussed further, as the focus of the paper was on experiences where the participants' identities as older, same-sex oriented women seemed salient. Instead, the results and discussion outline three novel themes, which highlight experiences specific to this group. The findings indicate that older women may face particular challenges following same-sex partner bereavement, which can impact upon psychological wellbeing and adjustment to loss. Clinical implications suggest a role for psychological, social, service level and societal interventions. Adaptations to existing models of bereavement are proposed, and future research recommendations are made. The critical appraisal outlines personal reflections on the research, and strengths and limitations of the research are discussed further.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? same-sex orientedpsychological wellbeing ??
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10 Aug 2015 15:26
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:41