Morley, Dinah (2011). Mixed Experiences: a study of the childhood narratives of mixed race people related to risks to their mental health and capacity for developing resilience. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)
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Background: The mixed race child population is growing proportionately faster than any other group. Whilst there is a body of research in this country, albeit small, that looks at the experiences of mixed race children, none of this research examines specifically the risks for mental health and the possibilities for developing resilience which may be related to growing up as a mixed race child.
Methods: Twenty-one adults, recruited through the internet, were asked to reflect on their childhood experiences in relation to being mixed race. They were offered a choice of response methods. The majority chose to provide a written account. A thematic analysis was carried out, within a phenomenological framework. A further analysis was undertaken to assess whether risks to mental health or opportunities to develop resilience could be identified in the findings from the phenomenological analysis using known risk and resilience factors relating to the mental health of children and young people.
Results: The data show that there are some additional risks to the mental health of mixed race young people. As well as difficulties experienced in establishing personal identity, they show that there are specific difficulties in secondary school and that young people of mixed race experience racism and prejudice from both black and white peers. The data indicate a capacity for building resilience, necessitated by their mixedness, linked to supportive families.
Conclusions: The overarching findings from this study mirror many of those from other mixed race studies. However this study shows how mixed race young people may experience some additional risks to mental health which need to be understood and considered by professionals in health, social
care, education and justice systems.
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