U135665.pdf (9.15 MB)

Identity search : special media interest in a clinical learning disabilities population

Download (9.15 MB)
posted on 2014-12-15, 10:46 authored by Stuart. Whomsley
The current research investigated the strong interests in media characters or narratives for a group of adults with learning disabilities seen by clinicians for behavioural and mental health problems. These interests were termed "Special Media Interests". Six people with learning disabilities and a special media interest were interviewed (four interviewed once, two interviewed twice). Independently, seven clinicians were interviewed: clinicians (n=5) whose clients had been interviewed and clinicians (n=2) whose clients (n=3) were not interviewed. There were seventeen interviews in total. A grounded theory method was utilised to analyse the interviews and the findings of this analysis were as follows. People with learning disabilities and special media interests made comparisons of themselves to their interest: parallels were drawn, transformational desires expressed and the transition from child to adult focused upon. Comparisons necessitated people with learning disabilities and special media interests reality testing media representations. Indicators of both interest control and indicators of the strength of interest were found. Special media interests were considered to have both positive and negative consequences. There were indications of individual features characteristic of those with special media interests as well as the features of media interests that make them attractive. The findings of the current research are set within a context of special media interests as being of therapeutic utility in clinical work and as informative about the lives of people with learning disabilities: in these interpretations the conceptualisation of self-pluralism was important. A framework of enquiry for clinicians to explore and assess their clients' special media interests is presented.


Date of award


Author affiliation


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Theses