Absence of other and disruption of self: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the meaning of loneliness in the context of life in a religious community


Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is an idiographic approach to qualitative research. It is widely used in psychologically-informed studies which aim to understand the meaning and context of specific experiences. In this paper, we provide some background and introduction to the principles and processes underpinning IPA research. We extend this via a practical example, reporting on selected analyses from a study which explores the phenomenology and meaning of loneliness, through interviews conducted with a group of religious women. Through our observations on the complex role of absence for loneliness, we show that IPA can be a powerful tool for exploring and understanding the meaning of salient experiences. We reflect on the significance of the results for advancing theories of loneliness; and on the capacity of the IPA approach to provide researchers with an important and useful phenomenological perspective, through its emphasis on context, and its commitment to integrating convergent and divergent claims.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11097-022-09832-8
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright © 2022, The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Uncontrolled Keywords: IPA,Interviews,Loneliness,Methods,Phenomenology,Qualitative,Philosophy,Cognitive Neuroscience
Publication ISSN: 1568-7759
Last Modified: 29 May 2024 07:56
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2022 13:21
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://link.sp ... 097-022-09832-8 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-02
Published Online Date: 2022-06-13
Accepted Date: 2022-06-07
Authors: Motta, Valeria
Larkin, Michael (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3304-7000)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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