How might parents of pre-pubescent children with gender identity issues understand their experience?

Prof Doc Thesis

Gregor, Claire 2013. How might parents of pre-pubescent children with gender identity issues understand their experience? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsGregor, Claire
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Whilst in recent times there has been an increasing interest in the popular
media in families with gender variant children, there is still a paucity of
academic research into the experience of parenting a pre-pubescent child with
gender identity issues. Gender dysphoria in young children engenders
powerful reactions in adults, involving the recognition of childhood sexuality, a
subject matter considered taboo in Western society. As such, this research
explores highly sensitive and intimate aspects of family life, requiring parents
to talk and think about difficult issues. This small scale study adopts a case
study design in order to explore how it might feel for families attending the
Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock Clinic, London to
parent such a child. Through acting as a ‘bricoleur’ (Denzin & Lincoln: 2000:
p3) different and contrasting research methods and theories of gender identity
development are explored in order to shed light on this under-researched and
hidden area of parental experience. Eight parents were interviewed and their
narratives are presented as case studies which can both stand-alone as
individual pieces of research, and be understood as a cogent group with overarching
themes. Psychosocial research methods of Free Association
Narrative Interviews and photo elicitation were used in order to gather the
data which was then coded and analysed drawing on the principles of
Charmaz’ (2001) constructivist version of grounded theory. Particular
attention is also given to unconscious processes that might have been at play
between researcher and interviewee such as transference, countertransference
and containment. Five key themes relating to the process of
mourning emerged from the data: loss, uncertainty, ambivalence, being
unable to think and acceptance. Recommendations for both social work and
clinical practice and further research are also offered.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintDec 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Jan 2014
Publisher's version
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