Alternative Title

Factors promoting resiliency and healing for LGBTQIA identified adult survivors of childhood sexual assault

Publication Date


First Advisor

Elaine Kersten

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Resilience, Trauma, Sexual assault, Child, LGBTQ abuse, Resilience (Personality trait), Psychic trauma, Adult child sexual abuse victims-Psychology, Adult child sexual abuse victims-Counseling of, Sexual minorities-Psychology


The objective of this study was to examine the experiences of adults, who as a result of their incidents of childhood sexual abuse were predisposed to present with a variety of negative outcomes, in pursuit of identifiable interventions, practices, and supportive factors effective in mitigating the negative outcomes and promoting survivor resiliency. The bulk of the previous studies of the critical elements for survivor resiliency had been conducted in religious communities. Ensuring a sample composed of individuals with access to an identity-based community, noting that community and connectedness had frequently been considered significant, this study was limited to LGBTQIA identified survivors. Using semi-structured interviews, self-selected survivors reflected on the experiences and supports that had “made it work”, and assisted in their achieving resilience. The study confirmed that each of the 11 respondents had achieved their individual sense of strength as a result of their individual and distinct journeys toward recovery, and all the experiences, practices, and people that had enabled them to get there. The study concluded that the most commonly effective factors included: hope, shifted perspectives, connection, control, achievement, self-expression, therapeutic intervention, closure, and self-concept. Due to the limited timeline, limited sample, and variance among respondents, this study suggests further research adjusting: evaluation and perspective, longevity, exposure consistency, variance across diverse populations, in order to provide helping professionals with more accurate and evidence based effective practices to implement in their recovery work with survivors.




ii, 139 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2017. Includes bibliographical references (pages 99-106)