The impact of childhood emotional abuse in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia : how adults relate past abuse to their mental health

Alsulami, AJAA 2019, The impact of childhood emotional abuse in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia : how adults relate past abuse to their mental health , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The aim of this research is to explore the impact of childhood emotional abuse on mental health in Saudi Arabia. The research focused on understanding how adults relate their experiences of emotional abuse in childhood to their mental health status. The aim of the study is to enable adults who have experienced mental health problems and childhood emotional abuse in Saudi Arabia to tell their stories and express their opinion as to whether, in their understanding, their experiences of childhood emotional abuse have impacted on their mental health problems in adulthood. The study explores three main issues. These are the relationship between the experiences of childhood emotional abuse and the impact on mental health in adulthood, the barriers that people who have experienced mental health problems and have a history of childhood emotional abuse face when seeking help, and any potential recommendations for policy and practice to improve health and social care responses in mental health settings for adults who have experienced childhood emotional abuse.
Semi-structured narrative interviews were undertaken with twenty adult survivors of childhood emotional abuse (ten male and ten female) aged between 16 and 45 years who are currently receiving outpatient treatment at the Mental Health Unit of King Abdulaziz Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The participants were asked to describe the abuse they experienced in childhood and their present mental health. The participants were also invited to discuss whether they felt that the abuse they had experienced had any bearing on their mental health in adult life.
The interviews undertaken with the study participants were then analysed thematically. As such, key themes were identified that occurred throughout these narratives and these themes were considered in relation to the relationship between the abuse the participants had experienced in childhood and their present mental health. It was found that there was a strong relationship between the experience of childhood emotional abuse and mental health problems including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal ideation in adulthood. It was also apparent that adult survivors of childhood emotional abuse tended to socially isolate themselves and retain a sense of victimhood in adulthood. The last finding could be attributed to particular aspects of Saudi culture as the patriarchal nature of Saudi society was found to encourage a sense of victimhood and reinforcement of low status amongst victims of childhood abuse.
Importance and Relevance
The prevalence of child abuse in Saudi Arabia and the lack of sufficient understanding of how such experiences affect an individual’s mental health status are the main reasons why the current study is important. Unlike earlier studies on child abuse in Saudi Arabia and its effects, this study gives a unique perspective as its approach involves understanding the topic through the descriptions of people who have mental health problems and who have experienced childhood emotional abuse. By understanding how such individuals relate their childhood experiences to their current mental health status, this study provides important insights that can help policymakers to adopt better approaches to improve the lives of people affected by childhood emotional abuse, and poor mental health in adulthood.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Depositing User: Amal Joud Allah A Alsulami
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 13:47
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2019 02:30
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/52309

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