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|Understanding Childhood Adversity and Resilience: Perspectives of Autistic Adults
|Heselton, Gabrielle A.
|Rempel, Gwen (Faculty of Health Disciplines) Nicholas, David (University of Calgary)
|Chang, Jeff (Faculty of Health Disciplines)
Brown, Heather (University of Alberta)
|Master of Counselling
|Faculty of Health Disciplines
interpretative phenomenological analysis
ethical autism research
|The purpose of this thesis project was to better understand the effects of childhood adversity on autistic individuals and the role of resilience in mitigating those effects. A review of the literature indicated that, despite vast research on these phenomena in the general population, little is known about their influence on the well-being of individuals on the autism spectrum. To understand these phenomena better, I employed interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), integrating participatory methods to ensure the research question, design, and analysis were congruent with the wishes and perspectives of the autistic community. Four autistic adults volunteered for this study and, through semi-structured interviews, described their experiences of adversity and resilience in childhood and adolescence. Adversity had long-term negative effects on the well-being of participants, while resilience meant an improvement in well-being in young adulthood. Autism/autistic characteristics interacted with both adversity and resilience to contribute to the well-being of participants.
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