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Kamboo, Gurpreet (2017) ADOLESCENTS’ EXPERIENCE OF LIVING WITH MEDICALLY UNEXPLAINED SYMPTOMS. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University & Keele University.

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Abstract or description

The term medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) is used to describe physical complaints with no observable organic cause. Findings from epidemiological studies suggest a high proportion of adolescents in the general population experience MUS. However, little is known about the impact of MUS on adolescents or the experience of adolescents who live with MUS. The aim of this thesis was to explore the experiences of adolescents living with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS).
A review of the literature investigating first hand experiences of adolescents with MUS and/or which explored the impact of MUS on adolescents was conducted. Ten studies (six quantitative and four qualitative) were included in the review. Critical appraisal identified quantitative studies mainly collected data via cross-sectional surveys, and half of the studies included also used instruments that were not validated. Out of four qualitative studies, only one study focused solely on the perspective of adolescents with MUS. The sample size for all included studies in the review was small. Synthesis of the results found three themes; (1) relational difficulties, (2) impairment to daily life and (3) psychological and psychiatric difficulties, although this is based on only a small number of available studies.
In response to this limited number of studies, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore the experience of adolescents with MUS. This analysis resulted in the following themes: an attack on the self; the social consequences of the 'new self' and disconnection. These findings suggest the experience of MUS in adolescence is multifaceted, involving a dynamic interplay of cognitive, social, behavioural and emotional factors that impact on sense of self. These themes are considered in relation to existing psychological theory; together with clinical implications and directions for future research.
A reflective commentary then considers personal reflections of completing the research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 18 May 2018 09:53
Last Modified: 18 May 2018 09:53

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