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Title: The lived experiences of friendship of young adults on the autism spectrum
Authors: Micallef, Antonella
Keywords: Autistic people -- Malta
Asperger's syndrome -- Malta
Stigma (Social psychology) -- Malta
Interpersonal relations -- Malta
Autism -- Social aspects -- Malta
Young adults -- Malta
Issue Date: 2019
Citation: Micallef, A. (2019). The lived experiences of friendship of young adults on the autism spectrum (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: This study explored the lived experiences of friendships of young adults with autism. The responses of the participants that focused on past and present experiences of friendships, provided an insight into their lived experiences as they lead their lives with autism. In addition, the study set out to challenge the validity of societal beliefs which state that persons with autism opt to stay in isolation. This study adopted a qualitative approach and the conceptual framework used comprised phenomenology and the social model of disability. This study was also guided by the principles of emancipatory research. The research was carried out within the Maltese context and the participants were recruited through local organisations and, due to low response rate, through social media. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used as the methodological framework and data was generated through one-to-one, semistructured interviews with five young adults with autism. The participants' experience was marked by several paradoxes. Their responses reflected society's categorisation of their being deviant on account of their autism diagnosis even when the barriers experienced were mainly a result of that same society. The participants' responses reflected also an awareness of the stigma that their autism label holds in society, which ultimately influence the participantss self image. Thus, whilst the participants acknowledged their right for equal treatment in society, the manner in which they perceive themselves is negative and they are therefore happy to settle for less as long as they have friendly relationships. This study provided an opportunity for the participants to make their voices heard in a society where their voices are very often silenced. Whilst the findings of this research provided a better insight into the lived experiences of the participants, further emancipatory research focusing on this topic is needed, especially within the local setting.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacSoW - 2019
Dissertations - FacSoWDSU - 2019

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