Researching how people experience emotional suffering subsequently diagnosed as depression

Pilkington, Vanessa (2013). Researching how people experience emotional suffering subsequently diagnosed as depression. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University Online)

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to qualitatively explore experiences of emotional suffering subsequently diagnosed as depression from the perspective of adults who had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. The focus of the study was to unearth some of the rich experiences participants underwent at the time of their pre-diagnosed depression, with particular attention being paid to experiences not documented in depression classification manuals.

Ten adults who had been diagnosed with depression and treated within the last three months participated in this study. Data was gathered through individual, face-to-face, semi-structured and recorded interviews and analysed with an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).

Eight superordinate themes emerged from the data relating to how participants experienced pre-diagnosed depression and to the connection of possible life events to it:
1. Totality of life at the time
2. Embodied distress
3. Trapped in head
4. Severed social and emotional connections
5. Transformation of identity
6. Dissociation
7. Belief in a higher force
8. Disciplining the self

The research also discussed these themes in relation to possible triggers and maintaining factors in the participants’ pre-diagnosed depression, how prediagnosed depression was experienced and those aspects which led to development of coping strategies.

This study has provided an insight to lived experiences of emotional suffering subsequently diagnosed as depression and can, therefore, be useful for counselling psychologists when working therapeutically with those emotionally distressed clients diagnosed with depression. Further studies can use the knowledge gained to further theory development in this area.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/14513

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