Adult Male Survivors Healing from Childhood Maltreatment Abstract Childhood maltreatment, including physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse, or neglect occurring before 18 years of age, is a serious public health problem associated with a variety of significant long-term physical, mental, sexual, and relational aftereffects. While modest research exists on recovery issues and healing of adult women who experienced child abuse, less research is available on healing from childhood maltreatment among adult male survivors. It is critical to develop healing interventions for adult male survivors. This R15 project proposes a hermeneutic phenomenological (HP) study to identify, describe, and understand the phenomenon of healing, based on the experiences of healing among a purposive maximum variation sample of 50-60 community-dwelling, adult male CM survivors who self-identify as having achieved some degree of healing from CM and positive outcomes. This study will include one to two interviews lasting 1 to 2 hours each with 50-60 adult male CM survivors.
The specific aims of this project are to: (a) obtain descriptions provided by a purposive maximum variation sample of adult male CM survivors about their experiences of the aftermath of CM and subsequent healing experiences to develop an explanatory definition of healing, inclusive of its essential core elements;(b) identify indicators of healing (e.g., cognitive, emotional, physical, behavioral) based on adult male CM survivors'descriptions of their healing experiences;(c) determine the primary human and environmental influences (e.g., interpersonal, familial, societal, structural, spiritual, &cultural) that adult male CM survivors deem helpful and hindering in relation to their healing;(d) determine what male CM survivors see as needs to heal and needs for health interventions;and (e) describe and characterize adult male CM survivors'core beliefs, meanings, and actions that they find supportive of healing. Data from field notes and interviews will be analyzed using Cohen, Kahn, &Steeves (2000) hermeneutic phenomenological research method. Understanding healing, its indicators, and human and environmental influences that support men's healing from CM can guide the development and testing of interventions for this population.

Public Health Relevance

Childhood maltreatment (CM) is a significant public health problem for adult male survivors due to the negative influence it has on their health, quality of life, and psychosocial functioning. Knowledge about adult male survivors'healing from CM and what facilitates it will be useful for guiding the design and testing of interventions for use with this population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) (R15)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Nursing Science: Adults and Older Adults Study Section (NSAA)
Program Officer
Cotton, Paul
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Boston College
Schools of Nursing
Chestnut Hill
United States
Zip Code
Willis, Danny G; DeSanto-Madeya, Susan; Fawcett, Jacqueline (2015) Moving beyond dwelling in suffering: a situation-specific theory of men's healing from childhood maltreatment. Nurs Sci Q 28:57-63
Willis, Danny G; DeSanto-Madeya, Susan; Ross, Richard et al. (2015) Spiritual Healing in the Aftermath of Childhood Maltreatment: Translating Men's Lived Experiences Utilizing Nursing Conceptual Models and Theory. ANS Adv Nurs Sci 38:162-74
Willis, Danny G; Zucchero, Terri LaCoursiere; DeSanto-Madeya, Susan et al. (2014) Dwelling in suffering: barriers to men's healing from childhood maltreatment. Issues Ment Health Nurs 35:569-79