A Narrative Oriented Inquiry into emotionally based school avoidance: hearing the voices of young people and their parents

Want, Hannah (2020) A Narrative Oriented Inquiry into emotionally based school avoidance: hearing the voices of young people and their parents. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The majority of research into Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) has sought the views of adults and professionals, meaning the current understanding of the phenomenon is largely shaped by adult interpretations (Baker & Bishop, 2015). An emerging research base has begun to explore the pupil and parent voice regarding their experiences of EBSA and their perceptions of the future, however, this base is limited and predominantly utilises semi-structured data collection methods, therefore, potential depth and detail in the accounts of this vulnerable group is minimised.

The present study used an adapted version of Hiles and Cermák’s (2008) model of ‘Narrative Oriented Inquiry’ (NOI) to explore the stories told by young people and their parents in relation to their individual experiences of EBSA, and their perceptions of the young person’s future. Guided narrative interviews (Jovchelovitch & Bauer, 2000), supported by a visual life path tool (Wilson et al., 2007), were undertaken with two secondary-aged young people and three parents, all of whom were experiencing EBSA at the time of the research.

A broad approach to analysis was adopted, informed by the exploratory research questions. Narratives were analysed using Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach & Ziber’s (1998) holistic-form analysis, used to consider the narrative plot lines (Gergen & Gergen, 1986) and the overall form of the stories; and categorical-content analysis to explore themes interpreted within the stories.

Participants reflected upon the pupil’s transition to secondary school, where the young people experienced a deterioration in their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Key themes were interpreted within the narratives in relation to their experiences of EBSA: difficult emotions and poor mental health; negative perceptions and influences of the school environment; poor school connectedness; the importance of peer relationships and family interactions; parents feeling unheard and blamed. Further key themes were interpreted in relation to the perceptions of the young person’s future: academic aspirations; hopes to re-engage in education; understanding the needs of the young person; the importance of emotional-regulation and self-management; and hopes for positive peer relationships.

The research has implications for current practice when supporting young people exhibiting EBSA and their families for LAs, Educational Psychologists and secondary settings, including enhancing school connectedness, relatedness, autonomy and competence; providing training and psychoeducation to support young people and parental awareness of SEMH and EBSA; potential development of an EBSA pathway to support professional understanding and consistency in response; and using pupil voice and person-centred approaches to support academic aspirations. Areas for future research are also highlighted.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Gulliford, Anthea
Keywords: Emotionally based school avoidance, Narrative oriented inquiry, Pupil voice, Parent voice
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050 Educational psychology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 61218
Depositing User: Want, Hannah
Date Deposited: 21 May 2021 09:14
Last Modified: 21 May 2021 09:14
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/61218

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