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Towards a Whole Self: Journeys of Marginalised Men

Rameswari, T (2021). Towards a Whole Self: Journeys of Marginalised Men. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

Black British men denote a majority of the recurringly high UK male suicide statistics, yet are markedly underdiagnosed with depression and underrepresented in mental health services for depression. Socially constructed ideals of masculinity are theorised to deter these men from seeking help for depression. However, existing literature is dominated by White and African American masculinity constructions and implications, with scant research on Black British masculinity and how it pertains to accessing support for depression. This constructivist grounded theory study, therefore, intended to understand via semi-structured interviews with nine Black British men who previously engaged in help-seeking for depression how they (re)constructed their masculinity, to inform how to better support this group. Four main categories emerged from the analysis, with each subcategory proceeding between macro processes of construction, de-construction, and re-construction. The re-constructive findings, especially, emphasised a multi-layered and interconnected process of participants (re)defining and embracing all dimensions of themselves and their experiences, thereby ‘Journeying to a Whole Self’ (core category), cultivating overall identity and emotional stabilisation. ‘Navigating a Black Identity’ showed how participants self-determined their identity following encounters of racial othering. ‘Negotiating Masculinity’ presented how participants developed an idiosyncratic form of masculinity that authentically reflected their current character in response to traditional models feeling personally incongruous. ‘Depression: Confronting Implicit Vulnerability’ and ‘Help-Seeking: Overcoming Explicit Vulnerability’ revealed how post-depressive growth occurred as participants negotiated their Black masculine identity, governed by emotional avoidance from historic racial trauma, to engage with the emotional vulnerability of experiencing depression and needing help. Clinical and wider implications of the findings are discussed in facilitating Black British male wholeness, with suggestions for future research to crucially continue the inquiry into this subject.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
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