Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Jason Patton


Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been linked to a number of adverse effects in adulthood including higher levels of depression, shame, guilt, self-blame, somatic concerns, anxiety, dissociation, repression, denial, relationship problems, and sexual problems. Little is known, however, about the influence CSA has on parenting, specifically among African American mothers, as previous researchers have primarily focused on the trauma experienced by survivors. Examining the impact of CSA on African American mothers' parenting is important as those children of survivors will often also experience the impact of the long-term sequelae associated with CSA. Guided by womanist theory, the purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative inquiry was to explore the lived experiences in relation to parenting of African American mothers who survived CSA. Experiential anecdotes of data collected from interviews with 7 participants were hand coded for emergent themes; analysis generated 4 essential themes and 10 subthemes of experience. Themes included impact of abuse, bonding, efforts to protect, spirituality, and desires. This study's implications for positive social change include contributing to the knowledge base about the process of parenting experienced by African American female survivors of CSA. Findings may add insight shedding light on cultural nuances in parenting and coping with trauma and inform culturally-competent practice. Using study findings, mental health providers may be able to develop tailored treatment interventions and better support services for the prevention of adverse long-term effects of CSA in African American women.