Date of Award

Fall 2000

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bardwell, Rebecca

Second Advisor

Fox, Robert

Third Advisor

Anderson, Rebecca


The functioning of psychologically traumatized children depends, in part, on how well their caregivers cope. Caregivers' coping depends, in part, on the meaning they construct regarding children's trauma and trauma-related behaviors. Using phenomenological research methods, the author examined this construction of meaning. The author describes these methods in detail, including interviewing, analysing, and writing. Participants' descriptions of experiences are reported in narrative form to reveal the process by which caregivers constructed, revised, and communicated meaning. The collective texture and structure of participants' experiences are also described. The author recommends that clinicians routinely attend to clients' ongoing construction of meaning, and continually strive to improve their own work, in order to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes in mental health treatment.



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