Narratives of resilience in survivors of child abuse

PhD Thesis

Morton, S. 2018. Narratives of resilience in survivors of child abuse. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
AuthorsMorton, S.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol

Despite the severely detrimental impact of child abuse, many adult survivors appear to be resilient, demonstrating a range of successful outcomes. However, conceptualisations of resilience in the literature may be somewhat disconnected from the emotional reality of survivors’ lives.

This study aimed to explore the life stories of nine adult survivors of child abuse using narrative analysis, with a theoretical focus on attachment. Narratives were generally hopeful and progressive, engaging in constructions of identities and relationships that amounted to a coherent, positive understanding of life. However, the joys of life did not erase the scars, and many reflected on themes of loss and uncertainty that were more hidden from the world. Attachment theory provided an interpretive frame by which themes were conceptualised as serving adaptive functions.

Findings suggest that “getting through” is not a ‘state’ that is reached with completeness, emphasising the importance of elevating the voices of survivors, and encouraging the multiplicity of stories to flourish.

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Publication process dates
Deposited03 Oct 2018
AcceptedApr 2018
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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