"I don't mind people hugging me when I'm happy": autistic individuals' experience of emotions on their sensory world: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Georgiou, Alexia (2021) "I don't mind people hugging me when I'm happy": autistic individuals' experience of emotions on their sensory world: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

After the recent change in the diagnostic criteria of autism, sensory issues have been acknowledged as more than just an associated symptom of the condition. Current literature explored the social, emotional, and physical consequences of unusual sensory experiences on the lives of autistic individuals and gave an insight into the needs of this population. Literature also suggested a possible effect of emotional states on the sensory experiences of autistic individuals. In order to explore autistic individuals’ experience of emotions on their sensory world, three autistic individuals were recruited and interviewed through semi-structured interviews, in person and via Skype. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse the data and four main themes emerged: (1) experiencing sensations and emotions, (2) coping with consequences, (3) making sense: “the base part of what I have to do in my everyday life”, and (4) the process of describing. The findings were discussed in the context of existing literature and theories. The key finding was that negative and extreme positive emotions increase sensory sensitivity in autistic individuals, whereas mild positive emotions decrease sensory sensitivity. The intensity and unpredictability of situations and stimuli also increase sensory sensitivity. The effect reported by participants was consistent with previous studies, but also provided new insight regarding the impact of positive emotional states on sensory experience in autism. Any implications for practice and an evaluation of the study were discussed and recommendations for future research were made.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: autism; sensory; emotions; qualitative; semi-structured interviews
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2021 11:04
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 11:04
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/6984

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