Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

Program Name/Specialization

Individuals, Families, and Groups


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Shoshana Pollack

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisor


Within the existing body of literature on women survivors of intrafamilial childhood sexual abuse (CSA), there is extant literature that indicates that survivors will experience mothering challenges later in life. However, little research has focused on the possibility that mothering might also function as a site of healing. Addressing this gap, this thesis explores the mothering experiences of six women who experienced childhood sexual abuse by a family member. Working within a narrative methodology, data was gathered through semi-structured, in-depth interviews, and analyzed using a combination of categorical-content and holistic-content analysis. Three overarching themes were identified: 1) The Impact of Abuse on Self and Relationships, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma, 2) The Restorative Potential of Mothering, and 3) The Role of Motherhood Discourse. Read through a relational-cultural theoretical lens, the findings indicate that the relational experience of mothering can function as a source of empowerment, resilience, and healing.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons