This research study was conducted to investigate the processes experienced by survivors of child maltreatment as they became parents. The study utilized a grounded theory approach to answer the research question, “How do survivors of child maltreatment experience the process of becoming a parent?” The goal of the study was to generate a theory about the actions, interactions, and emotions experienced by survivors of child maltreatment as they became parents. It was the intention of this study to enhance the knowledge base of the psychological profession. The research problem, the methodology chosen to answer the research question, and the findings of the data analysis are discussed in detail, as well as how the results of the research study relate to past research findings on the topic and the field of psychology. The results of this research study indicate that child maltreatment survivors desire to achieve an evolved parental identity, more specifically a parental identity that was a more developed form of the parental identity that had been achieved by the abusive parent(s) that served as their role model in childhood. The context and processes, as well as the factors identified as influential during the transition to parenthood, that influenced child maltreatment survivor’s ability to meet their goal of acquiring an evolved parental identity are also discussed.


Child Maltreatment, Transition to Parenthood, Grounded Theory


This research study was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Kim Kostere and was evaluated by Dr. Phyliss Cook and Dr. Jessica Emick.

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




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