Risk-Taking, Dangerous Behaviour in Childhood

Prof Doc Thesis

Anderson, Janet 2001. Risk-Taking, Dangerous Behaviour in Childhood. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Dept. of Psychology
AuthorsAnderson, Janet
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This thesis describes qualitative research into risk-taking, dangerous
behaviour in childhood using a post-Kleinian, psychoanalytic clinical approach.
Risk-taking, dangerous behaviour itself has received no research attention,
although a wider category of externalising behaviour has been the subject of many
studies. Many factors have been identified which are associated with externalising
behaviour but there is an absence of explanation between these factors and the
problematic behaviour, neither a causal nor a meaningful link being made between
them. Assessment and therapeutic treatments of children from three different age
groups were undertaken. Clinical data from different sources were analysed using
the constant comparative method of grounded theory, within a psychoanalytic
framework. The factors already known to be associated with externalising
behaviour were found to be present in the research families but none of these
factors, nor other similarities and differences between families based on historical
data, provided an organising principle enabling the risk-taking, dangerous
behaviour to be understood. The organising principle which meaningfully
discriminated between cases was the evident emotion of the parent or primary
carer and an exploration of this revealed different emotional configurations in the
parent-child relationship. Three different configurations were identified, emerging
from the clinical material, which were linked to and extend established
psychoanalytic theory. These were called illusory-haven, no-haven and periloushaven
each of which is unsafe for the child. The connections made between these
configurations and Oedipal theory gives the latter a central place in understanding
the origin, structure and meaning of the risk-taking, dangerous behaviour. The
concepts developed have significance for clinical work and are useful tools for any
professionals working with children and families, helping them to identify
different family patterns for which there are different strategies and different

KeywordsRisk-taking and dangerous behaviour; Grounded theory; Mental health issues
Publication dates
PrintJul 2001
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Mar 2014
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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