Asexuals are more likely than non-asexuals to suffer from mental health problems, possibly as a result of prejudice and discrimination. However, some asexuals are reluctant to seek support from mental health professionals for fear that they will be belittled or labelled as having a disorder. The current study set out to find out whether psychological therapists view asexuality as a disorder, and whether being familiar with asexuality makes them less likely to pathologise it (consistent with intergroup contact theory; Allport, 1954). An online survey of 209 psychological therapists was conducted. Participants filled out a new measure of asexual pathologisation, the Clinician Attitudes To Asexuality (CATA) scale. The CATA was found to have good internal and test-retest reliability. Participants reported a high level of familiarity with asexuality, however only a minority of the sample had received professional training on the topic. Participants who claimed to have met someone asexual were less likely to view asexuality as a problem, however this was not the case when controlling for bias against single people. Women were less likely to view asexuality as a problem than men, however being a member of a sexual minority group did not affect participants’ views. There was no difference in views between trainee and qualified therapists. Clinical implications and limitations are discussed and suggestions are made for future research.
|Date of Award
|29 Sept 2017
|Catherine Butler (Supervisor), Paul Salkovskis (Supervisor), Cathy Randle-Phillips (Supervisor) & Ailsa Russell (Supervisor)