Close and intimate relationships: understanding their importance and establishment through research and therapeutic practice

Burnham, Nicole (2014). Close and intimate relationships: understanding their importance and establishment through research and therapeutic practice. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)

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Abstract

Little is known about the romantic lives of individuals with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). They are known to have difficulties in establishing such relationships, but there has been limited investigation, especially from a qualitative perspective. In the present study, eight young adult men (aged 21 to 29) with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome (AS) were interviewed about their experience of romantic relationships. The data was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Four themes emerged from the analysis which were 1) hopes and expectations of being in a romantic relationships; 2) challenges in establishing a romantic relationship; 3) establishing a romantic relationship; and 4) the self, which relates to the impact that the participants’ experiences had on how they felt about themselves and their resulting psychological wellbeing. The findings suggest that romantic relationships mattered to these individuals, although for many, a number of real or anticipated barriers prevented them from establishing one. The results are discussed in relation to the existing literature and recommendations for counselling psychology practice, service development and future research are made.

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/14590

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