A phenomenological approach examined the stories of ten women transitioning from childhood poverty to adult life. Women were chosen from a pool of participants in an Upward Bound program designed to assist low-income and/or first-generation college students in the Midwestern United States. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to retrospectively explore their lived experiences. Recurring themes included facilitators of change, specifically the people, including mental health professionals, family members, romantic partners, and friends who helped make change possible. Another frequent theme found in the research was the impact an education had on the participants. Finally, the participants shared their own insights related to the stigma of poverty and their diverse experiences in transitioning away from poverty. Research findings could prove beneficial to social service professionals interested in understanding the complex realities of resilient, impoverished women.


Phenomenology, Poverty, Women, Motherhood

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.