"At the time I didn’t know what was going on, so they diagnosed me with schizophrenia": The lived experience of being diagnosed with schizophrenia for people of Black African and/or Black Caribbean heritage: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Prof Doc Thesis


Gordon, A. 2020. "At the time I didn’t know what was going on, so they diagnosed me with schizophrenia": The lived experience of being diagnosed with schizophrenia for people of Black African and/or Black Caribbean heritage: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.88wvq
AuthorsGordon, A.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

Schizophrenia has long been a contested and controversial psychiatric diagnosis. Over the last six decades, research has consistently demonstrated that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), specifically people of Black African and/or Black Caribbean descent in the United Kingdom (UK) are more likely to face mental health inequalities and be diagnosed with schizophrenia in comparison to other ethnic groups (Fernando, 2002; 2008; 2010; Read & Dillon, 2013b; Nazroo, 2020). However there has been a paucity in research into the lived experience of receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia. This research seeks to contribute to the field of counselling psychology and allied professions by exploring the lived experience of receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia amongst this specific population. The phenomenon was investigated by adopting Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight participants and subsequently analysed using IPA. The Six-Stages of Analysis was used (Smith et al., 2009) as a process of interacting with the data within an inductive and iterative cycle (Smith, 2007). The consisted of close interaction between the researcher and the text, using line-by-line analysis of each participant’s transcribed interview (Smith et al., 2009). The findings revealed that participants were engaged in a range of meaning-making processes regarding their experiences relating to the diagnosis. Four super-ordinate themes emerged from the data: ‘Schizophrenia is a form of social control’, ‘Living with schizophrenia is a dynamic sentence’, “A spiritual dimension to this experience” and ‘Being Black in the mental health system’. The findings highlighted that receiving a psychiatric diagnosis is not a static event located at one point in time. Rather it is a multifaceted process that is engaged with by the recipient on multiple levels beyond the diagnosis. The implications for Counselling Psychology and allied fields are reviewed, as well as limitations and suggestions for future research were discussed.

KeywordsSchizophrenia; Black; Black African; Black Caribbean; Counselling Psychology; IPA; Mental Health; Psychiatric Diagnosis
Year2020
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.88wvq
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Publication dates
PrintSep 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Dec 2020
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