Narratives of friendship and mental health

Doran, Dan (2022) Narratives of friendship and mental health. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Research, theory and mental health policy draws attention to the importance of family, social networks, community, employers and learning contexts in maintaining mental health and inclusion. Yet the meaningful complexities of friendship to psychological health and public policy has not received sustained analysis, and policy emphasis is often restricted towards family relations.

This study explores the friendship-experiences of seventeen people who have endured mental health difficulties, through a critical narrative inquiry of their stories of friendship. A hermeneutics of suspicion, involving stigma, feminist and mad studies is used to explore meaning within the narratives.

The study reveals the participants’ stories of problems of daily living, illness and stigma, of friendship as freedom and recognition, and friendship’s contribution to personal agency and establishing a valued position in society. The study develops a perspective of how compassion in friendship has helped articulate and reframe identities to one’s self, to others, and to distress, and therefore the potential contribution of friendship to living with mental distress.

The thesis argues that mental health studies have been dominated by institutionalised relationships, of which friendship has been made to fit into theoretical frameworks of family- and kin-relationships. The thesis presents an alternative view of friendship to aid in the reformulation of the varieties of social relationships shared by people through mental distress. Additionally, there have been very few narrative studies that explore the friendship experiences of people with mental ill health and this study adds to a growing literature.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Stickley, Theo
Edgley, Alison
Keywords: Narrative, narratives, story, stories, friendship, friend, friends, relationship, interpersonal, social, mental health, mental illness, distress, critical analysis, freedom, stigma, compassion, capital, policy, practice
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WM Psychiatry
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Item ID: 63757
Depositing User: Doran, Dan
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2022 08:01

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