What Stories Do Young People Tell About Their Past Experience of Social Withdrawal?

Prof Doc Thesis

Mccullagh, P. 2020. What Stories Do Young People Tell About Their Past Experience of Social Withdrawal? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.887w4
AuthorsMccullagh, P.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This study took as its subject the stories that young people, aged 16 and over, tell about their experience of social withdrawal. It is argued that social withdrawal highlights some of the tensions between paternalistic and enabling modes of supporting young people, particularly in the ‘intermediate period’ of late adolescence and early adulthood. Social interaction is increasingly seen as a necessary element in the development of a full range of capacities in adulthood. At the same time, a critique of this tendency can be identified which appeals to diversity and autonomy, including in relation to social motivation. A review of the literature revealed a sophisticated model of the development of social withdrawal and its associated difficulties, as well as subtypes with distinctive pathways. However, there was a dearth of qualitative analysis of young people’s subjective experience of social withdrawal.
A narrative methodology was adopted to answer research questions centred on stories told and explanations offered about the experience of withdrawal. This was informed by an Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) and related epistemology. Interviews with four participants were followed up with the co-construction of timelines. Their narratives revealed the importance of specific incidents over longer term tendencies. They also revealed the interaction of power and resistance with feelings of shame and humiliation. Finally, they discussed the changing nature of their selves, discussed in the study in terms of ‘symbiosis’. It is suggested that further research locating withdrawn young people in their social context would be beneficial.

KeywordsSocial Withdrawal; Narrative
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.887w4
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online25 Sep 2020
Publication process dates
SubmittedApr 2020
Deposited25 Sep 2020
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