An Exploration of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Psychosis and Self-esteem

Sergi, Georgina (2022) An Exploration of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Psychosis and Self-esteem. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This research aimed to explore self-esteem and psychosis in the context of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). A systematic review was conducted to synthesise existing research into self-esteem in Autism. This review employed a mixed methods design, where qualitative accounts were used to clarify and expand on quantitative findings.

The review examined 18 studies; twelve used quantitative methods, 3 were mixed methods and 3 were qualitative. The results of the review were divided into 3 key areas: self-esteem in ASD compared to neurotypical controls, factors influencing self-esteem in ASD populations, and secondary mental health outcomes associated with self-esteem. The review highlighted that self-esteem is significantly lower in ASD populations compared to neurotypical controls and is associated with mental health difficulties including anxiety and depression, with factors such as social isolation and feelings of difference negatively impacting on self-esteem in Autistic populations. Social connectedness was shown to be protective against low self-esteem.

An empirical study was then conducted to explore the lived experience of those with comorbid ASD and psychosis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants recruited from an Early Intervention Service and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Five superordinate themes were identified: experience of psychosis; experience of ASD; overlap between ASD and psychosis; emotional difficulties; treatment with EIS. This study highlighted the pervasive, long-term impact of ASD on participants’ social and emotional wellbeing, in addition to the additive and amplificatory effect of psychosis on difficulties experienced in the context of ASD. The findings from both studies were critically discussed and evaluated.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 09:48
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 09:48


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