”De är ju som alla andra fram tills man ser att de avviker” - En studie om erfarenheter av stigmatisering hos föräldrar till barn med neuropsykiatriska funktionsnedsättningar
Sammanfattning: The aim of this study was to examine experience of stigma among parents of children with neuropsychiatric disabilities. Since I wanted my study to focus on parents’ experiences, I used a qualitative approach. I based my study on interviews made with six mothers of children with different neuropsychiatric disabilities such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD and ADD. Most previous studies on stigma and neuropsychiatric disabilities have been made in the USA. Since stigma is a term highly associated with time and context I thought it would be interesting to examine this subject in Sweden, a country that in many ways differ from the USA. My study shows that yet today, more than 50 years since Goffman wrote his book about stigma, the book is still adequate when trying to understand the process of when “normal” people place people who deviate in one way or another in the category of deviators. And how they as a result of this, treat them differently in many situations, which often leads to discrimination and other negative consequences. All respondents in my study experienced stigmatization associated with their children’s neuropsychiatric diagnosis, although most of them could also name many situations when the surrounding people were kind and understanding. My conclusion was that the stigmatization process is very complex and that it seldom takes the same form in different situations. All groups of people, both close and distant to the families, were able to cause stigma for the family, but people close to the families tended to be more supportive and understanding in general than distant people. It seems though that the most important factors in preventing stigmatization are awareness and knowledge about what it means to have a neuropsychiatric diagnosis.
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