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Carol Hamilton

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Policy and Social Work/Disability Studies)
Study Completed: 2009
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
" our house we're not terribly sexual...." Exploiting the barriers to supporting people with intellectual disability in the area of sexuality and intimacy

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Hamilton investigated factors influential to how support workers enabled, regulated or constrained the sexual expression of intellectually disabled people who live in service agency-run group homes. Based on literature revealing a high degree of reluctance on the part of workers to provide assistance, further reasons for this unwillingness were explored. Eleven in-depth interviews were undertaken with front-line staff. Data was subjected to a post-modern, deconstructive analysis to engage with the wider issues of social representation configuring the lack of support response found in this area. Powerful interplays of discursive effects related to an ‘ideal couple’ dominated workers'' talk about the sexualised behaviour of the people they worked with. Crucial interplays of discursive effects of gender, age and sexual desire further upheld workers'' no-support necessary responses. A post-modern perspective is recommended as a helpful tool for future practice development in this sensitive social area.

Dr Martin Sullivan
Professor Robyn Munford
Dr Michelle Lunn

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