Being the parent of a child with a visible difference : a focus on parenting a child with a cleft lip and/or palate and limb difference

Oliver, James and Murray, Craig and Dixon, Clare (2017) Being the parent of a child with a visible difference : a focus on parenting a child with a cleft lip and/or palate and limb difference. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis is primarily concerned with the experience of parenting a child with a visible difference. The focus of the papers were chosen due to their under-representation in the literature and relevance to clinical psychology provision. The thesis commences with a review of the qualitative literature that explored the experience of being a parent of a child with a cleft lip and/or palate. Using Noblit and Hare’s (1988) meta-ethnographic approach, 18 papers were reviewed to produce five over-arching themes. The findings illuminated the central experiences associated with the parenting role. Clinical implications concern the enhancement of emotional support for parents within healthcare settings. A pertinent finding emerged relating to the role of parent identity in navigating treatment pathways and its potential influence on treatment decisions. The research paper explored the experiences of parenting a child with limb difference who has been provided with an artificial limb. Seven parents were interviewed and data analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Four themes were identified: (1) managing the initial emotional experience through the development of coping resources; (2) opportunities through prosthesis use and its relationship with ‘normality’; (3) managing and making sense of social reactions toward their child; (4) the intrinsic role of support: developing a collective connection and enabling shared knowledge. Clinical implications once more concern the provision of emotional support. In addition, the management of social responses and the co-ordination of healthcare services with support networks are discussed. Of relevance to prosthetic rehabilitation services was an interesting divergence related to the experience and meaning of their child’s use of a prosthesis concerning functionality. Finally, the critical appraisal documents the process of reflexivity within the research paper, including the navigation of methodological issues to ensure fidelity with IPA, before discussing the pertinent clinical implications as I move toward qualified life.

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Thesis (PhD)
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01 Aug 2017 10:16
Last Modified:
09 Feb 2024 00:23