Date of Award

10-23-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Y. Barry Chung, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Catherine Y. Chang, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Joel Meyers, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Greg Brack, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Cathy Brack, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the resilience strategies of 13 South Asian female survivors of child sexual abuse. Two research questions guided this study: (a) How does a small sample of South Asian adult women in the United States (U.S.) describe their experiences of child sexual abuse? and (b) What resilience strategies do these South Asian female survivors of child sexual abuse report using to cope with child sexual abuse? The phenomenological research design was grounded in feminist theory to capture the lived experiences of resilience related to child sexual abuse (Patton, 1990). Data were collected during semi-structured interviews with five informants and one 90-minute focus group of eight informants who did not participate in the individual interviews. Bracketing of researcher assumptions was used to demonstrate dependability, credibility, and coherence of the data reduction and analysis (Creswell, 1998). Open coding generated a list of broad domains to create a codebook (Wertz, 2005). Using a recursive method of data collection and analysis, the codebook guided independent coding of each transcribed interview. Constant comparison identified new codes that did not fit under previously identified domains (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Two overarching themes emerged from the data. The first theme, South Asian context, included four subthemes (gender, family, ethnic identity, acculturation), and the second theme, resilience, included five subthemes (use of silence, hope social support, social advocacy, self-care). A model based on these finding suggests the informants in this study made meaning of child sexual abuse within a South Asian context before utilizing effective resilience strategies. Practice and research implications for South Asian women who have survived child sexual abuse are discussed.

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