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Hannah Lerman


Victims of childhood trauma are vulnerable to substance abuse due to their inability to develop coping skills following trauma, which can lead to criminal and violent behavior. Guided by the ecodevelopmental theory, this phenomenological study attempted to relate the perceived experiences of violent behaviors as a result of methamphetamine use in women to the types of childhood trauma the women experienced. Fourteen women were recruited using purposive sampling in collaboration with the South Brunswick Counseling Center, based on inclusion criteria that included being over the age of 18; having abstained from methamphetamine use for at least a year; having experienced a childhood trauma including physical, sexual, emotional/verbal abuse or neglect; and having perpetrated violence against others as an adult while under the influence of methamphetamine. Data were analyzed using Moustakas' qualitative analysis method and revealed 5 themes: unresolved anger over childhood trauma, 'roller coaster of emotions,' lack of coping resources, initial negative influences, and therapist influence. The participants confirmed previous research findings that unresolved anger over past childhood trauma is the main consequence associated with methamphetamine-induced violence. The study impacts social change by adding to the body of knowledge regarding the shared experiences of these women between childhood trauma and methamphetamine-induced violence. These findings could aid in the development of community-based prevention and intervention programs for victims of childhood trauma, mental health professionals establishing evidence-based interventions, and victims' parents, who are susceptible to substance abuse and resulting violence.

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