The experience of the self in Canadian youth living with anxiety: A qualitative study
Woodgate, Roberta L.
Public Library of Science
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
© 2020 Woodgate et al.
MetadataShow full item record
Background Anxiety can create serious disruption in the life and mind of youth who are affected. Youth living with anxiety suffer a wealth of physical and psychological challenges, yet little is known about how anxiety influences the sense of the self. The purpose of this research was to explore the experience of the self in a sample of Canadian youth living with anxiety.Materials and methods The qualitative research approach of hermeneutic phenomenology was used. The sample consisted of 58 Canadian youth with anxiety, 44 females and 14 males between the ages of 10 and 22. Youth took part in open-ended interviewing, ecomaps, and photovoice. Data analysis followed a staged process, informed by Max van Manen. All sources of data were included in the analysis to form thematic statements.Results Entering into the lifeworld of youth revealed that they suffered deeply. A fractured sense of self underlined their experience, setting up for a great deal of self-scrutiny and a lack of self-compassion. They experienced a profound sense of responsibility for others at the loss of being-there-for-oneself. Navigating their social sphere presented an additional challenge. However, youth were genuinely interested in self-discovery through awareness and reflection.Conclusions The phenomenological accounts by youth on living with anxiety reinforce the challenges they experienced within themselves that give rise to a great deal of inner turmoil. Care and support to youth with anxiety requires an understanding of the ways in which the self may be fractured by their experiences with anxiety. Providing young people with an opportunity to share with others who had similar lived experiences can serve to contribute to a sense of healing for youth, while also providing a safe space in which young people can let down their guard and openly acknowledge or share their experiences without fear of stigmatization.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Woodgate, R. L., Tailor, K., Tennent, P., Wener, P., & Altman, G. (2020). The experience of the self in Canadian youth living with anxiety: A qualitative study. PloS one, 15(1), e0228193. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0228193
Items in KU ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
We want to hear from you! Please share your stories about how Open Access to this item benefits YOU.