Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sandra P. Thomas

Committee Members

Ralph Brockett, Mary Gunther, Joanne Hall


This study is a secondary analysis of a federally funded study of survivors of childhood maltreatment, who now consider themselves to be successful and effective in their current environments as adults. The purpose of this secondary analysis was to identify strategies that female survivors of childhood maltreatment have used as children and as adults to move beyond the effects of the abuse. An in-depth analysis of 27 women who have completed three interviews over the course of a year has revealed a generative theme of “Facing Down Death” and two interconnected themes of “Purposeful Cognitions/ Emotions,” and “Purposeful Actions.” Each theme is supported by quotes from the participants. Today the idea of “life strategies” has become popularized by our culture. This study specifically examines those “life strategies” that have been used to move beyond by female survivors of childhood maltreatment, a significant moral adversity, and a situated societal evil.

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