Mania, meaning and gender: an exploratory study to investigate men's experiences of mania

Prof Doc Thesis


Rishworth, Barbara 2009. Mania, meaning and gender: an exploratory study to investigate men's experiences of mania. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsRishworth, Barbara
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

It is apparent from the literature that the accounts and descriptions of 'bipolar disorder'
fail to capture the difficulties described by those who experience manic depression. The
gender differences in diagnosis, the accounts and experience of manic depression (and
specifically mania), have not been sufficiently explored. Furthermore, the majority of the
research has been quantitative, and research that has looked at the "personal
knowledge" (Peyrot, McMurry & Hedges, 1987) of individuals experiencing manic
depression has been sparse. Paveley (2006) considered women's experiences within
the context of their social, economic and relational lives. Paveley identified six themes:
a) autonomy and the loss of control; b) maintaining a coherent sense of self;
c)'paranoia'; d) a need for explanations; e) loss; and f) contradictory responses to
depression. The aim of this study therefore was to explore men's experiences of mania
(and depression) and to examine how conceptions of gender may have influenced
those experiences within the context of their social, economic and relational lives. This
study also reflected the extent to which men's experiences of mania accord with the
concept of bipolar disorder. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore six men's
accounts of mania (and depression) which were then analysed from a critical realist
position using a qualitative approach, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Mania emerged as a complex phenomenon with related benefits and difficulties. Five
themes were identified: a) Sexuality, Maleness, Femaleness and Mania; b) How I
experience, relate to and value mania; c) relationships and mania; d) identity, self and
where am T in the experience and e) search for explanations; "Why me? Why now?
One theme was explicitly concerned with gender and how gender mediates and is
impacted by mania. There was a compelling difference between the men's explicitly
gendered accounts and the 'absence' of explicit gender reference in the women's
accounts in Paveley's (2006) research. The theoretical and clinical implications of these
findings are discussed and further areas for research outlined.

Year2009
Publication dates
PrintMay 2009
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jun 2014
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