Feelings and health effects experienced by non-offending mothers whose prepubescent daughters disclosed sexual abuse by a known perpetrator




Edwards, Carrie Nelms

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This phenomenological study, using the approach of Heideggerian hermeneutics, explored the feelings of non-offending mothers whose prepubescent daughter experienced sexual abuse by a known perpetrator. The topics of interest included the impact a daughter's abuse had on her mother. Through face-to-face, semi-structured audiotaped interviews incorporating open-ended questions and prompts to facilitate discussion, the study examined 12 non-offending mother's initial feelings. Also included in the study was the impact those feelings had on the mothers' health as well as how those feelings changed over time. A seven-stage process was used to analyze all transcripts. Interpretation of the data uncovered a process of survival that began with the mothers' mixed intense feelings toward the incident, perpetrator, and self associated with negative changes in psychological, physical, and behavioral health and ended with a resolution that signaled reconstitution of the role as mother with feelings of peace and letting go of the incident. Findings of the study should increase the awareness of nurses and other responders about the needs of non-offending mothers as well as contributing to the development of evidence-based care guidelines.



Health and environmental sciences, Health effects, Mothers, Sexual abuse