This study explored the experience of a cohort of gay men in midlife. All the men were solicited with a request to talk about their current life and discuss their memories of the early AIDS epidemic (1980-1995). A grounded theory design was used to capture the stories of the participants. Twenty-one men volunteered to participate in up to three interviews.
Major findings were discussed from the results. These gay men reported happiness and life satisfaction in midlife. Memories of the AIDS epidemic were readily available to recall. In addition to initial memories forgotten memories of lost friends were recalled following initial interviews. The manner in which memories were recalled imply suppression had been actively used as primary defense. Participants unexpectedly reconnected with feelings of sadness and loss during the interviews or in between interviews implying they had reconnected with disavowed affects.
Participants had experienced fear of annihilation and massive loss of sustaining relationships during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Despite these aspects of earlier trauma all participants showed evidence of generativity and had calmly accepted mortality. There was also evidence of wisdom, creativity, empathy, and humor, and acceptance of mortality. These traits are evidence of narcissistic transformation.
|Advisor:||Shelby, R. Dennis|
|Commitee:||Cohler, Bertram J., Eldridge, Amy, Goldberg, Connie O., McCaughan, Dennis L.|
|School:||Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago)|
|Department:||Clinical Social Work|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social work, GLBT Studies, Counseling Psychology|
|Keywords:||AIDS epidemic, Disavowal, Gay men, Midlife, Supression, Trauma|
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