Exploring the short term psychological impact of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome for young women; an interpretational phenomenological analysis approach.
D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Background: MRKH is a congenital condition which renders women unable to menstruate, carry a child, or have sexual intercourse (Edmonds, 2000). However, there is a scarcity of research regarding the psychological impact of the condition. Diagnosis is made in mid to late adolescence, a time where social relationships and identity are salient, hence there may be specific challenges at this point and through the transition to adulthood.
Aims: The study aimed to explore the impact of MRKH on young women.
Methods: Five women (aged 18 to 22) diagnosed within the past five years took part in a non-directive semi-structured interview. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Results: Four themes were identified; hindering independence, a sensitivity to difference, managing intimacy and managing threat to identity. The personal and sensitive nature of MRKH had a significant social impact for the young women’s developing identity, autonomy, and negotiation of peer and sexual relationships. Fear of being stigmatised caused them to manage their presentation to others in order to minimise the impact of their diagnosis.
Conclusions: The study offered a unique insight into the social challenges of MRKH in the transition to adulthood. Implications for services and future research directions are indicated.
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