Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Adult child sexual abuse victims-Psychology, Adult child sexual abuse victims-Rehabilitation, Incest victims-Psychology, Incest victims-Rehaibilitation, Resilience (Personality trait), Psychic trauma in children, Resilience theory, Trauma theory, Incest


This theoretical study explored the issue of resilience in adult women incest survivors by applying resilience theory and trauma theory. Its purpose was to look at how some adult female survivors have been able to address the impact of such an experience in relation to resilience. The experience of incest affects people differently, there are some who are able to withstand the negative effects and come out strong, thus considering themselves survivors instead of victims of incest. Resilience theory and trauma theory provided a framework to trace and see how these survivors have managed to overcome the negative effects of incest by using different internal and external factors that lead them to live successful lives even after going through such an ordeal. These theoretical perspectives were helpful in understanding how resilience developed. They shift from examining the experiences of incest survivors and how they express themselves as either pathological or out of the norm under the circumstances of their experiences. Rather resilience theory and trauma theory are strengths based approaches. Case material of incest survivors taken from Bass, Thornton, and Brister's (1983) book on narratives by survivors of how they dealt with their incest experiences was used. This study showed that incest survivors do have the capability to be resilient even in the midst of their struggles and psychological symptoms. It is clear from the two theories used that understanding the survivors' narratives of strengths and survival.




iv, 89 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 77-89)