A Study of Social Network Interactions amongst Women with Dysthymia

Baines, Lyndsay S.. 2001. A Study of Social Network Interactions amongst Women with Dysthymia. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The aim of this work was to study the higher incidence of dysthymia amongst women and to further explore the theory of gender inequality from the point of the sufferer's difference to other women. This is in contrast to the majority of health studies which have considered women as a homogenous group with little regard for individual characteristic differences. The thesis considered, `What are the mental health implications of women socialised to be different to men, but the same as other women, in a male dominated society?' Four women (21-49 years) with a diagnosis of dysthymia receiving psychodynamic short-term psychotherapy (as out-patients) were subjected to four semi-structured interviews, that ran concurrent to, but without collaboration with, their psychotherapeutic treatment. Social network graphs were compiled to produce a systematic account of how women differentiated themselves from each other within their social networks and to determine whether these individual differences could be developed as independent variables with regards the onset, maintenance and recovery from dysthymia. Data was compiled into a series of exploratory case studies and discussed in relationship to social network constellations. The emerging patterns of social interactions between social network members were then matched to feminist theory. The findings suggested that respondents' were socialised by their mothers to be stereotypical men within the context of highly dense, isolated and achievement orientated social networks. These social networks served to equate both mother and respondent with male power and differentiated them from other women. The subsequent social isolation and their ability to live up to their mother's ambitions for them generated loss and anxiety associated with dysthymia (Arieti & Bemporad, 1978). Recovery from dysthymia was directly related to the formulation of secondary and previously unidentified independent `weblet' constellations, that simultaneously reinforced respondents similarities to other women while accommodating their individual characteristic differences.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Women, Dysthymia, Social Network Interactions, Gender Inequality



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Date Deposited:

11 Jun 2020 15:34

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 15:43



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