Disability, relative poverty and gender : how men with learning disabilities perceive and experience the impact of social divisions on their health

Bollard, Martin
English
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This thesis explores how men with mild to moderate learning disabilities\ud perceive and experience how disability, relative poverty and gender impact on\ud their health. Its theoretical framework grounded in analysis of these social\ud divisions, and informed by the men’s own accounts - previously neglected in\ud research, reveals complex challenges affecting their health on a daily basis.\ud Consistent with the thesis’ overarching perspective, key elements of a\ud participatory approach were adopted in the fieldwork to ensure men with\ud learning disabilities’ active research involvement. They comprised the steering\ud group, and twenty men participated in qualitative interviews facilitated by\ud accessible materials and detailed preliminary preparations.\ud The findings showed the men were aware of health issues, but were grappling\ud with the adverse health effects of impairment, including disabilist health care\ud and victimisation. Low income associated with limited employment confined\ud most men to relative poverty with negative effects on health. The findings\ud demonstrated a sharp appreciation of masculinity. Marginalised by other men,\ud they experienced health threatening abuse, but their resistance to conventional\ud male disregard for health care, had positive implications for their health.\ud The thesis provides a more informed, nuanced understanding of the adverse\ud impact of different dimensions of social disadvantage on the health of men with\ud mild to moderate learning disabilities. In doing so, it demonstrates the value of\ud developing knowledge grounded in their perspectives and experience.

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