‘Who am I?’ How female care-leavers construct and make sense of their identity.
Hassett, A. and Colbridge, A. 2019. ‘Who am I?’ How female care-leavers construct and make sense of their identity.
|Authors||Hassett, A. and Colbridge, A.|
Identity formation may be more complex for those who have been in foster care in the face of childhood abuse, difficult relationships, unstable environments and multiple care contexts but this does not imply there is anything pathological about it. Given the higher levels of mental health difficulties in looked after children and the role identity has in mental health, whether as a risk or a protective factor, it seems clinically significant to investigate what factors help construct or hinder the formation of identity for those who have been in care. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse semi-structured interviews of eight female care-leavers about the understanding of their identity development. Three superordinate themes emerged which encapsulated participants’ identity development. These included Construction of identity – How I became me, Understanding of identity – Who am I and Experience of identity – How my identity plays out. Participants’ construction of identity can be understood in the context of early adverse environments and developmental trauma. This construction of self, in turn mediates how participants understand and experience their identity. Implications for future research included giving fuller consideration to the role of developmental trauma in identity formation. Clinical implications encourage understanding of looked after children and care-leavers in the context of developmental trauma, rather than focusing on symptoms of various diagnoses.
|Keywords||Identity; Looked after children; Care-leavers; Developmental trauma; Mental health|
|Conference||Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing: Communities, families, resilience and resistance|
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|Deposited||02 Sep 2020|
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