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Vaginismus in the Irish context: a grounded theory study

McEvoy, Maria orcid logoORCID: 0000-0003-1000-9909 (2021) Vaginismus in the Irish context: a grounded theory study. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

Vaginismus is a common sexual difficulty that can cause distress for the woman, her partner and their relationship. Despite its universal prevalence, vaginismus remains under-researched. The most recent studies of vaginismus in Ireland were conducted forty years ago and since then there have been no known studies of what it is like to experience vaginismus or to seek help in modern day Ireland. This is the first known study to interview couples together about their experiences of vaginismus and help seeking in Ireland and the first study to incorporate both the perspectives of couples and healthcare professionals. The aim of the study was to build a theoretical model of vaginismus within an Irish context from the perspective of couples and health care providers. This grounded theory study used semi-structured interviews to explore the experience of vaginismus in Ireland. Ten couples who had experience of vaginismus in their relationship and eighteen healthcare professionals who work with women and couples experiencing vaginismus were recruited for the study. Data were analysed through the three coding stages of Straussian Grounded Theory. The results conceptualise the experience of vaginismus and help seeking as a process of disconnection and connection, a psychosomatic defence mechanism within a lifespan developmental model. This defence mechanism is illustrated by iterative phases of protective disconnecting from emotional and sexual feelings within the family of origin, attempts at emotional and sexual connection within the couple relationship and, finally, a healing connection with the emotional and sexual self within the safety of the couple and/or therapeutic relationship. These results provide a conceptual framework that can inform a sensitive and ethical approach when working with women and couples experiencing vaginismus.
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:November 2021
Supervisor(s):McElvaney, Rosaleen and Glover, Rita
Uncontrolled Keywords:Vaginismus
Subjects:Medical Sciences > Psychology
Social Sciences > Social psychology
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science and Health > School of Nursing, Psychotherapy & Community Health
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:26149
Deposited On:29 Oct 2021 10:55 by Rosaleen Mcelvaney . Last Modified 29 Oct 2021 10:55

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