Original Research

Resilience enabling processes and posttraumatic growth outcomes in a group of women survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Hayley J. Walker-Williams, Ansie Fouché
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 23 | a1134 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v23i0.1134 | © 2018 Hayley J. Walker-Williams, Ansie Fouché | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 February 2018 | Published: 28 November 2018

About the author(s)

Hayley J. Walker-Williams, School of Psychosocial Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa
Ansie Fouché, School of Psychosocial Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: This study forms part of a pilot project, aiming to evaluate the benefits of a programme entitled S2T denoting from Survivor to Thriver, which is a collaborative strengths-based group intervention programme for women survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The objective of the S2T is to enable resilience processes and facilitate posttraumatic growth outcomes. A theory of change was developed to explain how these objectives are met, it outlines the theoretical approach, mediators, primary and secondary outcomes.

Aim: To explore emerging resilience processes and posttraumatic growth outcomes in women survivors of childhood sexual abuse after attending the S2T.

Setting: Data was collected during group treatment sessions of the S2T group intervention programme with women survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Methods: A quasi-experimental, one group, pretest, posttest, time-delay design was used with eight purposively selected women with a history of childhood sexual abuse, using qualitative methods to evaluate the benefit of this intervention. Nine group treatment sessions and a delayed follow-up session were conducted. A visual participatory technique and transcriptions of group sessions were used to collect qualitative data.

Results: Qualitative thematic analysis revealed the following enabling resilience processes: group as healing vehicle of change; changing destructive to constructive rumination; coping strengths and meaning-making. Posttraumatic growth outcomes which evolved were: transforming wounded to healer; a changed life philosophy; excavated spirituality and re-briefing strengths through a posttrauma thriver identity.

Conclusions: The themes suggest resilience processes and posttraumatic growth outcomes; a longitudinal study is recommended to establish effectiveness and inform treatment practice.


Keywords

childhood sexual abuse; women; resilience; posttraumatic growth; strengths-based; S2T

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