City Research Online

An exploration of the impact of external experiences upon the evolving sense of self.

Bajaj, Rina Kaur (2008). An exploration of the impact of external experiences upon the evolving sense of self.. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Aim of the research:
To explore the psychological impact that the London Bombings may have had on young Asian men living in London.

Ten participants aged between 19 and 32 were interviewed about their experiences in the aftermath of the London Bombings. Semi-structured interviews were employed so that there was some flexibility in the interview process with regards to the information that was elicited. Three of these participants were Muslim, three were Hindu, three were Sikh and one had no religion. The data was analysed utilising Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

The analysis revealed eleven super-ordinate themes: 1) Initial reactions to the bombings, 2) Reflecting upon societal impact, 3) Perceptions within British society, 4) Feelings towards Muslims as a result of the bombings, 5) Fear/Threat, 6) Other key emotions,
7) The media, 8) Connections, links, associations, 9) Dimensions that influence identity / sense of self, 10) Ways of coping and 11) Making new meaning of one’s existence. The commonalities as well as the differences in participants’ accounts were highlighted and the links between the super-ordinate themes were identified. Four main areas seemed to be most prevalent in the themes: the issues that the participants had around defining their sense of self and their identity, the experience of covert discrimination, the coping mechanisms they employed and the long-term implications of the stress reactions felt by the participants.

The analysis results suggest that, at least for the men involved in this study, the London bombings have had consequences on the everyday lives of Asian men and the way that they view their world. It became apparent that they felt that even though they were still the same people internally (and their beliefs about life had not changed), others’ perceptions of them had changed. This could have long-term psychological implications for their sense of self and identity in relation to their experiences of covert discrimination in the aftermath of the bombings. There could also be long-term consequences in relation to the coping mechanisms that the men had utilised in the aftermath of the London Bombings and the stress reactions experienced. The implications for Counselling Psychology are discussed and suggestions for future research are highlighted.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
Text - Accepted Version
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