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Life Trajectories of female child abuse survivors thriving in adulthood
Qualitative Health Research (2008)
  • Sandra Thomas
  • J.M. Hall

A narrative study of thriving adult female survivors of childhood maltreatment was undertaken to discover how they had achieved success. Life trajectory patterns, turning points, and setbacks were identified. Data consisted of 81 interview transcripts derived from a series of three interviews, spaced over 6 to 12 months, with 27 survivors. The childhood abuse was intrafamilial, beginning as early as infancy and continuing, in most cases, until participants left home. The onset and pace of the healing trajectory were quite variable, including a roller-coaster pattern as well as patterns of slow, steady progress and continued struggle. Four types of redemption narratives were delineated. Survivors had not been spared depression but had made achievements in work and education and displayed remarkable generativity, parenting their own children well, and mentoring other young girls, especially victims of abuse.

  • emotional abuse,
  • physical abuse,
  • coping and adaptation,
  • narrative methods,
  • women's issues
Publication Date
Citation Information
Thomas, S.P., & Hall, J. M. (2008). Life trajectories of female child abuse survivors thriving in adulthood. Qualitative Health Research, 18, 149-166.