Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Judith McKay

Third Advisor

Robert J. Witheridge


conflict, lesbian, motherhood, narratives, phenomenology, sociopolitical


This study explored the lives of lesbian mothers with children conceived through insemination or the adoption process in an effort to understand the conflicts they encountered along their journey to motherhood and how they managed those conflicts. The qualitative study included in-depth interviews conducted with six participants. The participants’ ages ranged between 25-60 years old. Interview results were analyzed to explore participants’ narratives in regards to their experiences, relationships, identities and transformation into motherhood. This research highlights significant ongoing developments in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) studies and seeks to intersect the boundaries between interpersonal and sociopolitical conflicts with the phenomena of lesbian-mothered families. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, this research provides a contribution to the interdisciplinary field of conflict resolution with a focus on the central research question: What is the common experience shared among lesbian mothers in their transformation to motherhood? The key findings of this study interrelate with themes of interpersonal conflict, role conflict, and sociopolitical conflict. The conclusions contribute to the field of conflict analysis and resolution, expand upon recent developments on LGBT family systems, and suggest new areas for further examination from the perspective of conflict analysis scholarship.

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