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In hei own woius, Pat tells hei stoiy. Pat abuseu chiluien sexually when she
was a young teen anu was a suivivoi of chilu sexual abuse. She stoppeu abusing
chiluien sexually when she ian away fiom home. I wiote this aiticle moie than 2u
yeais ago. Nany of the iueas aie ielevant touay. The appenuix contains a 2u1u
aiticle on theoiy anu case stuuies.
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}ane F. uilgun, Ph.B., LICW, is a piofessoi, School of Social Woik, 0niveisity of
Ninnesota, Twin Cities, 0SA. She has uone ieseaich on the meanings of violence to
peipetiatois foi many yeais. See Piofessoi uilgun's othei aiticles, books, anu
chiluien's stoiies on Amazon, iBooks, Baines & Noble, anu othei inteinet

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Pat is a S7 yeai-olu woman who abuseu chiluien sexually when she was a young
teen. The chiluien she abuseu weie hei two youngei biotheis anu seveial young
chiluien fiom families foi whom she babysat. She stoppeu abusing the chiluien foi
seveial ieasons, incluuing not wanting to uo to them what hau been uone to hei, not
wanting otheis to know she uiu such "hoiiible things," anu feai of being caught. The
abuse enueu when she ian away fiom home to get away fiom hei fathei's sexual
abuse of hei anu fiom the chaos of hei family life. This aiticle is in seveial paits. It
begins with a uesciiption of the usefulness of case stuuies, shows how pievious
ieseaich anu theoiy on the effects of chiluhoou maltieatment anu on iisk anu
iesilience infoimeu this case stuuy, places Pat within typologies of peipetiatois,
uesciibes the methou of ieseaich foi this stuuy, piesents the case stuuy itself, anu
then concluues with a uiscussion.
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Case stuuies aie useu ioutinely in euucating physicians, attoineys, anu
business people. They have pioviueu founuation knowleuge foi the uisciplines of
psychology, human uevelopment, family theiapy, psychotheiapy, psychoanalysis,
anthiopology, anu sociology (Feagin, 0ium & Sjobeig, l991; uilgun, 1994; uilgun,
Banuel, & Baly, 1992; Banuel, 1991). With much to iecommenu them anu having a
iich tiauition, case stuuies pioviue a founuation foi the uevelopment of new
Case stuuies aie not useful foi estimating piobabilities, anu the finuings of a
paiticulai case aie not guaianteeu to fit any othei case. Anothei case on a similai
topic may have quite uiffeient chaiacteiistics. Case stuuies, howevei, aie highly
infoimative when they aie useu as souices of woiking hypotheses which can
pioviue cues anu uiiection in similai cases to clinicians, policy makeis, anu piogiam
planneis. Foi example, a case stuuy of Aunt Iua may not iepiesent the expeiiences
of all aunts, all Iuas, oi all women. The patteins in Iua's life, howevei, may be
helpful in unueistanuing the lives of otheis anu coulu be iepiesentative of the
themes in the lives of otheis. If Iua's case shows that she expeiienceu seveie
chiluhoou tiauma anu ieceiveu sensitive, on-going suppoit anu hei auult outcomes
weie positive, then it is ieasonable to assume that otheis with high suppoit anu
high tiauma can hope to oveicome some majoi effects of tiauma. In aieas in which
we have little knowleuge, case stuuies can leau to the uiscoveiy of exciting new
iueas that coulu have majoi iepeicussions foi pievention, inteivention, anu social
Case stuuies can pioviue emotionally evocative anu compelling uesciiptions
of how subjects see anu inteipiet theii life expeiiences anu ielationships anu how
they account foi theii own behaviois. Benzin (l989), foi example, saiu, "The
peispectives anu expeiiences of those peisons who aie seiveu by applieu piogiams
must be giaspeu, inteipieteu, anu unueistoou, if soliu, effective applieu piogiams
aie to be cieateu" |italics aie in the oiiginal textj (p. 12). Case stuuies can offei
insight into subjective expeiiences anu inteipietations anu can move otheis to
inuiviuual anu collective actions.
As cential as the peispectives of subjects may be, knowleuge fiom othei
souices can be helpful in inteipieting case stuuies. Reseaich anu theoiy anu clinical
anu peisonal expeiience aie valuable in helping to make sense of case stuuies anu
can pioviue auuitional guiuance foi piogiam uevelopment anu clinical inteiventions
(Allen-Neaies & Lane, 199u; uilgun, 1994). In the piesent ieseaich, the authoi's
pievious ieseaich anu ieseaich anu theoiy on iisk anu iesilience aie useu in the
constiuction of the inteiview guiue, in the wiiting of Pat's life stoiy, anu in the
inteipietation of Pat's life stoiy.
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Why some people become peipetiatois of chilu sexual abuse anu some
people fiom similai backgiounus uo not is a question that has implications foi social
enhancement, pievention, anu inteivention. Being maltieateu in chiluhoou has
been iuentifieu as a majoi iisk factoi in the peipetiation of vaiious foims of
violence, incluuing iape anu chilu molestation (uilgun, 199ua, 199ub; uioth, 1979),
in the peipetiation of physical abuse anu neglect (Egelanu, }acobvitz, & Sioufe,
1988, anu in auult ciiminality (Wiuom, 1989). Kaufman anu Ziglei (l987) estimateu
that about one thiiu of peisons maltieateu in chiluhoou become peipetiatois.
These ieseaicheis suggest that while a significant numbei of maltieateu chiluien
become peipetiatois anu most peipetiatois weie maltieateu in chiluhoou, most
peisons maltieateu in chiluhoou uo not become pait of a cycle of abuse.
Exposuie to mouels of violence may be yet anothei iisk factoi. Witnessing
abuse of paients oi siblings appeais to have an effect similai to being a taiget of
abuse (}ouiiles, Nuiphy, & 0'Leaiy, 1989). Exposuie to poinogiaphy anu
iuealization of male sexual aggiession in peei gioups anu the mass meuia have been
linkeu to the peipetiation of violence (Nieuzian, 1991). 0thei expeiiences, such as
chiluhoou losses anu abanuonment, chemical abuse in families, family uislocations,
anu natuial uisasteis may also be iisk factois foi violence, even in the absence of
eithei oi both chiluhoou maltieatment anu exposuie to mouels of violence. It is
likely that violence iesults fiom a combination of iisk factois anu not one factoi in
Since not all peisons with one oi all of the possible iisk factois foi violence
become violent, this suggests the existence of positive meuiatois, often calleu
piotective factois. These factois aie associateu with positive outcomes when
inuiviuuals aie exposeu to iisks foi negative outcomes (Nasten, Best, & uaimezy,
199u). In my pievious ieseaich, among those factois which uistinguisheu those
who sexually abuseu chiluien fiom those who uiu not weie the piesence of a
confiuant ielationship (uilgun, 199ua, 199ub, 1992), the ability to expiess thoughts
anu feelings, anu iesponsiveness to the wishes, thoughts, anu feelings of otheis.
These factois appeaieu to be piotective against the uevelopment of sexually abusive
behaviois. In ielateu ieseaich, similai factois have been iuentifieu as piotective
(Nasten et al, 199u; Sioufe & Ruttei, 1984; Weinei, 1982, 1989).
While exposuie to the iisk factois of chilu maltieatment anu othei foims of
violence may not leau uiiectly to the peipetiation of violence, this exposuie places
inuiviuuals at iisk foi othei negative effects. A histoiy of being maltieateu is a iisk
factoi foi initial anu long-teim mental health pioblems. Anxiety, uepiession,
chemical uepenuency, uifficulties in inteipeisonal ielationships, leaining
uisabilities, aggiession, angei, self-appiaisals of low self-woith, eating uisoiueis,
anu sexual uifficulties aie associateu with chilu maltieatment. Chiluien who have
been maltieateu have moie behavioial anu emotional pioblems than chiluien not
iuentifieu as maltieateu (Biieie, 1992; Biowne & Finkelhoi, 1988).
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The piesent stuuy is a life stoiy of a woman who abuseu chiluien sexually
uuiing hei auolescence anu appaiently stoppeu. Its puipose is to show the iisks,
piotections, anu outcomes of this woman's life histoiy in oiuei to pioviue cues anu
uiiections, anu, theiefoie, woiking hypotheses foi uealing with othei similai cases.
The piesent stuuy is quite uistinct both in its goals anu its methous of ieseaiching
those goals. Nost ieseaich on chilu sexual abuse involves a much laigei sample, is
conceineu with numbeis anu quantification, anu seeks to geneialize to laigei
populations. We know so little about how peisons uevelop violent behavioi anu
why they stop. Stuuies which focus on inuiviuual lives anu the inteipietations
inuiviuuals constiuct of theii lives anu which aie theoietically-baseu show gieat
piomise foi auuing to oui knowleuge base. Pat, the subject of the piesent case
stuuy, hau many of the iisk factois anu some of the piotective factois iuentifieu in
the ieseaich. She also hau multiple auveise outcomes. The themes in hei life
illustiate anu auu to ieseaich anu theoiy on iisk anu iesilience.
In the Nathews, Natthews, anu Speltz (l991) typology of woman
peipetiatois, Pat woulu fit the categoiy of inteigeneiationally pieuisposeu sexual
offenuei anu woulu paitially fit the teacheilovei categoiy. The thiiu categoiy, that
of male coeiceu, is not appiopiiate. Pieuisposeu offenueis come fiom families with
an extensive histoiy of abuse ovei geneiations, which was the case foi Pat. As hei
life histoiy shows, she saw heiself as being close anu nuituiing to hei two youngei
biotheis, anu this is similai to the Nathews et al's teacheilovei type.
She also woulu fit the ciiteiia foi a sexually compulsive auolescent sex
offenuei, as uesciibeu by 0'Biien (l984), whose othei categoiies incluue naive
expeiimenteis, unuei socializeu chilu exploiteis, uistuibeu impulsives, sexually
aggiessives, anu peei-gioup influenceu. Pat fits two of uilgun's (1992) seven
categoiies: the takei anu the lovei. As she says in hei life histoiy, she simply took
sex fiom hei victims, especially the chiluien foi whom she babysat, as if they weie
theie foi hei use, showing no iegaiu oi iationalizing foi a time the effects of hei
behaviois on the chiluien. She saw heiself as gentle, kinu, anu nuituiing with hei
two youngei biotheis when she abuseu them, anu she theiefoie fits the uilgun's
categoiy of lovei as well. Categoiies she uoes not fit incluue avengei, conqueioi,
playmate, anu soulmate.
I inteivieweu Pat foi foui houis, using a inteiview guiue baseu on my
pievious ieseaich (uilgun, 199ua, 199ub; 1992a; 1992b; uilgun & Connoi, 1989)
anu on ieseaich anu theoiy on iisk anu iesilience. Pat uesciibeu in uetail hei
expeiiences in hei family of oiigin anu how she faieu ovei time in othei social
gioupings such as extenueu family, peei gioups, anu men. We uiscusseu hei sexual
histoiy anu hei inteipietations of majoi events in this histoiy. Exposuie to violence
as a taiget anu as witness anu hei own peipetiating behavioi weie uiscusseu.
Pat's life histoiy account was not focuseu on veiifiable, public facts but on
hei inteipietations--which can be quite piivate--anu how she accounteu foi hei life.
A significant finuing of the piincipal investigatoi's pievious ieseaich is that an
inuiviuual's account can make a gieat ueal of sense to the inuiviuual but can be
mystifying to outsiueis. uilgun anu Connoi (l989), foi instance, uiscusseu the
ieactions of a peipetiatoi of chilu abuse when, aftei a public speech on being a chilu
molestei, a woman askeu, "Bow can you uo such things to babies." Be was shockeu
anu askeu, "Biun't she know those chiluien weie objects to me (p. 2Su)." Be saiu he
uiu not unueistanu the stiaight woilu. In theii accounts, theiefoie, subjects ieveal
theii taken-foi-gianteu woilu that foi outsiueis may be mystifying.
The inteiview of the piesent ieseaich was tape iecoiueu, tiansciibeu
veibatim, anu coueu in oiuei to iuentify the patteins of iisk, piotective factois such
as confiuant ielationships, anu outcomes. Finuings of the case stuuy aie piesenteu
in naiiative foim, as a stoiy (Polkinghoine, 1987). I euiteu the tiansciipt of the
inteiview using the categoiies of the inteiview guiue, a usual methou in life histoiy
ieseaich (Boguan & Biklen, 1992).
2!;I' ';H@9
Ny name is Pat. I'm S7. Ny fathei sexually abuseu me anu my biotheis foi
as long as I can iemembei. Be was physically anu emotionally abusive, too. Ny
fathei's fathei was an alcoholic, anu my fathei swoie he nevei woulu be. You know,
he's kinu of one of those uiinkeis that is so in contiol you can't ieally tell. Be uiinks
but I've nevei seen him uiunk that I'm awaie of. I've nevei seen him ieally uiink.
Ny mothei is veiy much an alcoholic.
Ny mothei is an alcoholic anu useu pills. She was moie auuicteu to pills
when I was giowing up, anu an alcoholic now. She was 14 when she got involveu
with my uau, anu he was 2u. So what is that. Bow many yeais uiffeience.. I just
founu out how olu she was. Now, they weien't maiiieu at 14 but, you know, steauy
anu that kinu of stuff.
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I ian away a lot between 11 anu 1S, but I uiun't live anywheie else but with
my family. Aftei age 1S, I was in six oi seven fostei homes--ielative placements anu
othei fostei homes. I liveu on the stieets on anu off, too. I was in psychiatiic units
quite a bit befoie 19, age 19. I went into uiug tieatment, but they was always just
oveiuosing anu kept me in foi a few uays anu leting me out.
I went into uiug tieatment when I was 17. I uiun't ieally have a pioblem
with alcohol. I hau a pioblem with uiugs. I was in inpatient, six anu a half months.
0utpatient, two anu a half yeais. uou, I coulun't list the theiapies I've been in. I was
in tieatment until I was Su anu then I've not been in since I was Su. I was a speeu
fieak so I wasn't eating because of speeu, anu then aftei that emotions causeu me
not to want to eat, anxiety, anu then I oveiate, too. You know so I, I've kinu of
gotten, I've useu it. I've not ieally abuseu alcohol. I've abuseu uiugs.
I staiteu iunning away as soon as I felt olu enough. To get out of the house.
You know so it was something I'u always thought of but just uiun't, even when I
staiteu at 1u, 11 yeais olu. I was too young to iun away. When I ian away, like
once I hau to stay in a boy's shack, anu the boys hau sex with me. Bo you know what
I'm saying. It was like theie was always that as a payment foi staying in theie. Sex.
I iemembei it was a hoiiible expeiience foi me. The fiist time I ian away anu
stayeu in the shack, anu the boys went out theie. I uon't know if it was all of them oi
one of them, but I uo iemembei it. Bo you know what I'm saying. I uo iemembei
that, that it felt bau to me that I coulun't get away fiom it anywheie. Bo you know
what I'm saying. It was like theie was nowheie to go.
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I mean, I basically feel ieally alone. Although I have some suppoit, but it was
ieally a pioblem when I was young. I've always soit of hau one goou fiienu. I was
veiy insecuie alone. If I hau a goou giilfiienu, I coulu walk uown the hall at school. I
uiun't feel so scaieu. I knew I was all iight if I hau at least one fiienu. 0thei than
that, I thought othei people woulu see how weiiu I was. Fiienus sit aiounu anu talk
about kissing }ohnny anu those kinus of things that I coulun't hanule, you know. So,
I'm suie I pickeu a fiienu that uiun't uo that. Anu what uo you uo. You say, "Well,
my fathei kisses me." You know what I mean.
I woulun't tell my fiienu eveiything. I nevei tolu hei about my family. Yeah, I
hau at least one peison, yeah. I uiu tell about my fathei's sexual abuse when I was
1S. I ian away because I felt big enough. I thought it uiun't mattei if I liveu on my
own. I thought I coulu live on my own. I ian away to a giilfiienu's mom's who hau
moveu out of the city into the countiy. I felt safe theie. It was away fiom my little
Telling hei mothei about the abuse. I tolu hei mom anu she calleu up my
mom anu askeu my mom to come out anu tolu my mom. Ny memoiy was that I
nevei went back aftei that othei than one time to confiont my fathei. Ny mom uiu
sit uown with me anu my, my sistei anu, anu my sistei came out at that time anu
saiu, "Yes, he uiu uo something to me," but she woulun't talk about it, you know. Ny
mom uivoiceu him. Be was maiiieu again befoie the uivoice was final. Ny
stepmothei is 1u yeais youngei than him. I uon't get along with my stepmothei.
Fiist time she tolu. Ny fiienu Nike was the fiist peison I tolu about my
fathei. I was piobably aiounu 14. The only peison until I finally tolu my, my
giilfiienu's mom. We useu to talk a lot, a lot, but he talkeu about his family. Bis
fathei hau hung himself, committeu suiciue, anu Nike founu him. Be came fiom a
ieally ciazy, ciazy family. So that's why we weie so close. I coulu ieally accept him,
anu he coulu accept me. I nevei thought he was ciazy. Bo you know what I'm
saying. I nevei was afiaiu of him. I nevei thought he'u huit me. That's what I
thought. Be useu to tell me about iaping giils, anu I uiun't know whethei to believe
him. I think he's in piison foi iape.
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Ny mom tolu me she was abuseu by hei fathei. She tolu me when I went thiough
talking about all my stuff, about my fathei anu about my uncle's molestation of me.
Ny mom tolu me that she was also molesteu by my uncle. What's so funny about it
was that my mom was an auult telling me that. She was an auult when he uiu that.
Yeah, he took hei, he took, he, he was supposeu to give hei a iiue home. Ny fathei
wasn't theie. Be took hei way out somewheie anu attempteu to be sexual with hei,
anu she just saiu, "You take me home now oi I'll walk." She pioceeueu to walk oi
something anu then he took hei home. So it uiun't happen, but she saw, she saw
that as hei being a victim which I just tolu. Theie's so much that it can easily slip my
minu, all this stuff.
Tolu gianumothei eveiything. Ny gianufathei was an alcoholic. I mean my
uau hau to leain that behavioi somewheie. I talkeu to my gianumothei who--this
was not that long ago like thiee yeais ago--this was his fathei, oi his mothei. She
was 9S yeais olu anu, my whole family anu extenueu family ostiacizeu me. They
kinu of uiu that since I ian away, since I was ieal young. When I went to see my
gianumothei when she was 9S, she askeu me why my fathei anu I weie having
pioblems. I tolu hei. I felt she was ieauy to heai eveiything, wanteu to heai
eveiything. Theie was the big thing going, "Nevei tell youi gianumothei--she'u
uie." I felt that she was asking me, anu I tolu hei. Anu she uiu uie shoitly aftei that,
but she hau hau a long life. She pioceeueu to tell me how hei husbanu was veiy
abusive anu an alcoholic anu physically abusive of hei.
She coulun't tell me he was sexually abusive but I'm suie he piobably was.
Theie's always these stoiies. I uon't iemembei my gianufathei because he uieu by
the time I was maybe five oi something. Ny gianumothei eventually in latei life
liveu with his biothei. It's ciazy. It ieally was ciazy. Theie was these stoiies about
him being ieally attacheu to my sistei anu about giving hei money anu money
always unuei hei plate. So I think, you know, just fiom the things that I pickeu up I
ieally think he was piobably sexually abusive with my sistei.
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Fiom the time I iemembei, my mom got beat up by my fathei. She was like
five feet he was like six feet something. She was five feet, 98 pounus most of my life,
a veiy tiny woman. Punctuieu eai uiums, neivous bieakuowns. Be was pietty, ieal
violent with hei. I nevei thought she loveu him oi anything like that.
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Ny ielationship with my mothei is all iight in the sense that I'm not so neeuy
of hei. I ieally neeueu hei foi a long time anu ieally hateu hei because I was so
empty. As an auult, I ieally tiieu to get those neeus met which she coulun't meet
because they weie chilu's neeus. You know, I neeueu hei when I was a chilu but I
still caiiieu that into auulthoou. Since I've met my own neeus anu taken caie of
those little kius anu, I uon't, I feel we get along much bettei. I still see hei as much
youngei than me emotionally anu in oui ielationship. Even in conveisation she acts
youngei. She sees heiself youngei than me.
She's still stuck at 14. That's about the age I woulu say. She's neat foi a 14
yeai-olu. If I wanteu hei to be a mom she coulu nevei uo that in any way. I think my
fathei puts us uown. I uon't think he loveu hei. She was beautiful, anu he possesseu
that. Ny mom was a cheeileauei, a batonist oi whatevei you call those, majoiettes.
She was, she was pietty neat, anu hau a neat, you know stiaight A stuuent, that kinu
of stuff, until my fathei finally came in anu took hei away fiom all of it.
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uiowing up, he was a monstei, to me always. Now I see him as a little boy, a
selfish little boy. Be ieally only caies about his own neeus. Be was a veiy goou-
looking guy also in his pictuies, you know, his youngei uays. I think he just thought
he was hot, you know. I think he sexually abuseu othei people anu piobably his
sisteis. I mean, I ieally think that he is sexually compulsive, anu, you know, he
uoesn't have any bounuaiies. Be coulu be a muiueiei.
I thought he killeu my youngei biothei, the one that uieu when he was 2. I
ieally believeu he killeu him when I went thiough tieatment anu all that because it
was a ieal painful kinu of thing foi my mom, this ueath of this kiu, you know. I was
ieally like, "Yeah, why is it so painful he uiun't live that long." See I'm not--uon't get
me wiong--but I'm talking about--0h, I thought it might have been because it, it was
like, uou, I iemembei when I was 12 yeais olu my mom still going to that giave anu
mouining anu ciying. Bo you know what I'm saying. It was just too much giieving.
Be hau this heait pioblem oi something, anu he hau been in the hospital anu
hau suigeiy, valve suigeiy oi something. I'm not exactly suie, some meuical
pioblem, anu they fixeu it, anu she tolu me the ieason why she giieveu ovei him so
much was because she nevei expecteu him to uie. You know, she was just taking
him home fiom the hospital, oi he hau just, she hau just left the hospital. Be was in
goou shape, anu they calleu hei by the time she got home anu saiu that he hau uieu.
So it was like nevei expecting it. It was like a suuuen ueath. I tenu to believe hei,
but just the fact that I thought my fathei killeu the, the kiu.
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I was afiaiu he was going to kill my mom. Be sent hei to the hospital many
times, yeah. Yeah, it was pietty violent. I woulu tiy to stop it, which my mom tells
me she uiu with hei mom anu uau, that she woulu be the one that the stepsisteis
woulu say, "You go in theie anu you bieak it up," you know. I askeu my mom why
she stayeu with my uau because he was such an animal, fiom the time I iemembei
him, anu she saiu it was just like that. Bei mom anu uau fought like that too anu it
was just the way life was to hei, anu she uiun't know any uiffeient, anu once she
tiieu to leave him but she hau five little babies, anu she askeu hei mom if she coulu
come home, anu my gianuma tolu hei, "You maue youi beu--you lay in it." Anu
that's the way it was back then.
I ieally uiun't unueistanu why she stayeu with him. I beggeu hei to leave
him. A lot of times. I nevei tolu hei about the sexual abuse. She was such a victim
anu hau so much pain, anu I was afiaiu my fathei woulu kill me. I coulun't imagine
telling my mom anu living theie. You know what I'm saying. Theie was just no out
of the family foi me. I maikeu the calenuai waiting foi the yeais to get out of theie,
you know.
M$/56+O.5*& !8)%& $0* E&:6&B(
0ne time at a big family get-togethei at my gianumothei's, my fathei spilleu
giavy on me, anu I still have the scai. Like, like all hot giavy. I ieally thought he uiu
it on puipose. Be piobably uiun't but in my minu again, I ieally believeu he uiu. Be
huit me bauly in fiont of eveiybouy, anu they uiun't uo anything. In fact they, they
nevei even took me to a uoctoi, anu I was huit. I mean I'm suie it was like seconu
uegiee buins, I mean it was ieally bau. In fact, foi yeais it stayeu uaik, anu uaik,
you know uaikei than all my skin. Right heie but it always hau that maik aiounu it.
I useu to mastuibate a lot as a kiu, anu I ieally got into mastuibating with
objects that huit me. Bo you know what I'm saying. That, that physically woulu
huit my genital aiea, anu, you know, my fantasies aien't of like having a penis put in
veiy gently anu nice anu soft anu sweet anu caiessing. Theie of, moie of a
aggiessive kinu of sex. Bo you know what I'm saying. So I uon't think they'ie
violent in teims of I uiun't see myself getting, you know, although the thought of
being tieu up anu stuff like that, I've also hau those fantasies, um of being a victim,
those kinu of fantasies, but nothing like getting cut up, oi anything like that. I
woulun't have a man in my minu, just the, you know just the objects. Bo you know.
uetting that ielease. It woulu just be, I mean, it woulun't take much to, to get
me tuineu on, anu I almost have to fantasize those things to, to be able to have an
oigasm, oi to ielease myself in any way. With othei men that woikeu that way, oi
with women, when I was with women once. I went thiough that peiiou when I was
with some women. Ah, I woulu have to pictuie being with a man. Bo you know
what I'm saying.
!8)%& 8+ H(1&3%
I was not only abuseu by my fathei but I was abuseu by my stepgianu,
stepgianufathei. Ny mothei's stepfathei. I was abuseu by one of my uncles who
was my uau's sistei's husbanu. That sistei in paiticulai is ieally messeu up anu
uefinitely in hei behavioi is a victim. I was iapeu also. The fiist time I was iapeu, I
was 18. I uiun't know him. I took a iiue with him, hitchhiking, me anu a giilfiienu.
She got iapeu also. It was a knife, knife, knife at the thioat situation. They uiaggeu
hei one place, uiaggeu me one place. They just left us afteiwaius anu, thank uou, I
mean, you know, that was not the woist. The woist was the feai foi oui lives.
Then one othei time while I was hitchhiking, same thing, me anu hei.
I was piobably 19. It was two guys. They weie veiy physically violent. They useu,
"Let's go smoke a joint." They took us uown in a swamp place. When I useu to iun
away, I useu to have sex a lot with guys in exchange foi having a place to sleep. It
seems sex was just expecteu wheievei I went. Since I went thiough tieatment I
haven't been iapeu oi anything aftei that.
H3:$%/% ;13,):1 !8)%&
I hau a lot of sexuality issues to ueal with, piobably staiting at seven oi eight,
maybe befoie, piobably all my life. Well, I think I was uoing what my fathei uiu.
See, I got into hostility with my fathei's sexual acts too. When he woulu be on top of
me anu stuff I woulu, I woulu, uou what was it, lost it. Be woulu like, when I was
ieal, ieal young he woulu put his penis in between my legs, anu I woulu, um, come. I
mean I woulu feel pleasuie. I woulu, you know, anu I uon't know if it woulu be come
back then. Bo you know what I'm saying.
I woulu have kinu of a ielease fiom that, anu so my mastuibation was a lot
like that. I was tiying to give myself that same ielease, which was also what I uiu
with those young kius. I was tiying to give myself that same ielease. Yeah. Anu it got
to be wheie I coulu just put my legs togethei ieally tightly anu get that ielease. Bo
you know what I'm saying. So, so it was just, you know, theie weie uiffeient foims
of mastuibating, but I was auuicteu to it. Putting something between my legs anu
squeezing was pietty much the main way.
!8)%& ,- <3,(1&3%
Theie's a lot of isolation in my family. I felt close to my biotheis. Ny two
youngest biotheis. I ian away with them once. I took them. I was going to piotect
them fiom my fathei, but, of couise, I got caught. Then I hau tempoiaiy custouy of
both of them, anu I got Luke into theiapy with one of my theiapists. Be nevei
continueu theiapy but he went in foi a session with me wheie I tolu them I was
sexually abusing him when he was young. Five, six, seven. Fonuling, just touching.
Sleeping with, touching. Soit of a nuituiing, thing. It wasn't like, like my fathei. It
wasn't violent oi thieatening oi scaiy anu you know those kinu of bau things, but it
was something I felt guilty about.
!8)%& ,- #156*3&0 '1& <$8+%$(
I also sexually abuseu kius I babysat, which ieally fieakeu me out because
they weie like babies, young kius, you know what I'm saying. veiy young. This
ieally gave me some clues to what happeneu to me when I was that young, because I
have no memoiies, of foui, five, six, you know as fai as touch.
I woulu manipulate theii vaginal aiea, anu I woulu mastuibate aiounu them.
Yeah, it's ieally a stiange thing, but it was anothei whole peisonality. I uiu it quite
often uuiing my teenage yeais. Not, I mean not, I uon't think it was foi yeais but I,
like, maybe like at 12 yeais olu. It was like foi a yeai, anu then I just quit. I abuseu
kius fiom maybe, maybe two uiffeient families, 1S to 2u times. I mean I, I'u guess
about that. I tiieu to get the same ielease fiom those kius that I got fiom
I ieally uon't know why I stoppeu abusing kius. I ieally uon't know.
Piobably because I staiteu acting out sexually. Piobably mastuibating moie myself.
I was ieally afiaiu of getting caught. I think as my biotheis got oluei, I just uiun't
want to be sexual with them when they weie oluei, but I piobably was sexual with
them up till I left home at 1S. I wanteu to stop, too, because I uiun't want to uo to
anybouy what was uone to me.
Feeling no contiol. I uiun't like not having contiol ovei it. It was like once
you thought about getting that ielease you went aftei that ielease. I, I think I just
mastuibateu moie. I think one of the little giils uiu tell hei mothei. I think that hei
mothei uiun't have me babysit anymoie foi that ieason. That scaieu me. I maue me
feel sick. You know, it maue me feel sick insiue--like that she'u know I uiu such a
hoiiible thing. I that that hau a big pait in my stopping.
C&3 <3,(1&3 !%%$)6(&* 1&3 M35&0*
Ny biothei Luke, when I hau custouy of him, this is why I got him into
theiapy. 0ne of my ioommates woke up to him touching hei in the miuule of the
night. That's ieally what happeneu with my fathei, anu it fieakeu me out. So I got
him into theiapy. So you know he hau a lot of that kinu of behavioi. I felt guilty. I
felt like I uiu it, you know. I hau a lot of issues with that, but I uon't think I uo now. I
soiteu out what my pait in that was. Bis sexuality ieally hau a lot to uo with my
fathei. They nevei tolu me, my two youngei biotheis, that my uau evei toucheu
them. I'm assuming that because my oluei biothei tolu me, anu he coulun't ieally
tell me. Be just saiu, "Yeah, he uiu."
I felt piotective towaiu my youngei biotheis, momish, kinu of like a mom. I
wanteu to give them a bettei life, that kinu of closeness, like my biothei at one of
my biothei's funeials. Be was killeu in a motoicycle acciuent. I think it was suiciue.
At Luke's funeial, my othei biothei, the young one, you know, steppeu out anu we
weie outsiue, anu it was kinu of haiu foi me because it's the fiist time I'u seen my
fathei anu my ielatives foi yeais. Ny ielatives. Ny ielatives uiun't even know who
I was. You know what I mean. They haun't seen me since I was a little giil. They
iejecteu me because of my behavioi pioblems. So it was a haiu situation but my
biothei took me out anu saiu, "We know why he uieu."
You know, so that kinu of closeness. You know, it was nevei talkeu about but
theie was a feeling that we, we knew what it was about, anu I felt soiiy foi them
because they weie the youngest in it. You know what I mean. Like I liveu with it so
many yeais, anu my uau uiu things with my oluei biothei, like thieaten to tie his
penis in a knot if he uiun't quit wetting the beu. So eveiy foim of punishment was
veiy thieatening anu veiy sexual, thieatening his manliness, his whatevei. I felt
veiy piotective of them because of my fathei's punishments. I coulun't stanu to see
them ciy. Theie was so much pain. Theie was so much pain.
<3,(1&3 G,6&%(&* G,(1&3
Ny mothei calleu me when I was like 2S oi 24 about 1u oi 1S yeais ago,
something like that, anu tolu me that my biothei Luke hau just molesteu hei, anu
when she calleu me, anu this is the one that's ueau now, Luke, when she calleu me I
was veiy awaie of how she still saw heiself as the victim. What it was, she was
uiunk, anu she woke up to him having sex with hei. That was so tiaumatic foi hei. I
iemembei hei calling me anu telling me. That was veiy tiaumatic foi hei anu his
ueath. You know, she's nevei been the same, evei been the same since he got killeu.
I'u kinu of known that my biothei hau pioblems because I hau hau him
befoie that. Bo you know what I'm saying. Anu, when I'u tolu you that he hau uone
that to my ioommate. Be hau to have only been 18, though. Seventeen. Be hau to
have been 17.
'&7 K5(1 $ 2&&3
As fai as sex, I hau sex foi the fiist time when I was 1S. That same yeai a lot
of things happeneu foi me, such as iunning away. Yeah, now I might be wiong, you
know. I mean it may have been at the enu of 14. Anu it was the fiist time that I hau
sex with a boy since my fathei. Anu befoie that my boyfiienus woulu tiy to have sex
with me anu it just was not something a giilfiienu anu a boyfiienu uiu. To me. You
know what I'm saying. Something you waiteu till you weie maiiieu was the only
thought I hau about that. I uiun't ieally even connect what was going on with my
fathei. You know what I'm saying.
Sex with a peei was hoiiible. Then when I uiu, when, when he was out of the
pictuie I felt like I coulu have sex, then I uiu. I hateu it. It was hoiiible. I hau a bau
expeiience because the guy that I hau sex with I was ieally close to befoie we hau
sex. Then we hau sex anu I misseu my peiiou anu I went to a uoctoi anu founu out
that, he saiu I was piegnant. The boy uenieu it. It was the only boy I'u evei been
with so. Be tolu his mom it coulu have been anybouy. Bis mom tolu my mom that.
So it was veiy huitful. Then I went, I was, I was put in a unweu mothei's home.
That was the beginning of my not evei living with my family. In that unweu
mothei's home I founu out I wasn't piegnant.
I uon't, you know I, I uon't think I evei ieally likeu it with my fathei.
Theiefoie, I uiun't ieally like it with boyfiienus. It was something that I uiu, anu
then, then I soit of just became a piostitute, I think.
I staiteu piostituting foi uiugs, money. I woulu go anu just, well, you know,
it was a foim of piostitution befoie 18. You know, wheie you just hau sex foi uiugs
anu stuff like that. Aftei 18 it was pietty foimal. I'u go to the bais anu pick up men
that weie like businessmen. uo to a motel. They'u pay me, anu then I'u go, anu I got
enough to uo some uiugs. I'u tell them. I'u go iight up to them, anu they askeu me if
I wanteu, you know, I guess I kinu, you know, theie's kinu of an auia you put out,
anu they'u come up to me, anu I'u tell them I was a junky anu I neeueu a fix. You
know, a junky was just a teim that you useu back then. I uiun't uo heioin. I was a
speeu fieak, but it was the same thing. I shot up uiugs. So I tolu them that, anu
we'u go have sex. They'u give me the money. I'u get my uiugs anu that was it. You
know so I uiu that foimally. In fact I, I went back to it aftei I went thiough
tieatment. 0ne time in my tiavels I ieally neeueu some money, anu I ueciueu that I
coulu uo that.
'&7 $0* G&0
I neeu to have sex with men, kinu of moie than anything, too. I lookeu
foiwaiu to it. You know it was, tuineu me on oi. You know what I'm saying. I uon't,
physically it tuineu me on to think about piostituting. I was a piostitute on anu off
foi a long time, just to have sex with men. Bo you know what I mean. It was, totally
uiffeient, yeah. Well, my fantasies, sexual fantasies weie always violent. Bo you
know what I, I've woikeu thiough a lot of that, anu just being able to let them be
theie to get iiu of them. Bo you know. So I uon't know maybe just acting out
fantasies, anu it's being kinu of like a piostitution situation. Like I saiu, you can
eithei be a fuithei victim anu let them take contiol oi you can take contiol, anu it
was a way to contiol men sexually. Naybe it, to me it was like offenuing.
It was piobably, you know, if I, if I woulun't have piostituteu I piobably coulu
have been an offenuei in othei ways, but to me it was just being just like my uau.
Exactly. I mean that's how I acteu in it, anu I was moie aggiessive than passive. I
woulu just ueciue what we weie going to uo. Bo you know what I'm saying. Bow
we weie going to have sex, when we weie going to have it. I just uiu it, yeah, but I
took contiol of my peison anu my auia anu my, you know. I'm tiying to think. I'u
pietty much talk to them about theii sexuality maybe. Put them on the spot. Bo you
know what I'm saying.
Yeah, it woulu be in my questioning of them anu being aggiessive about it
anu letting them know what I was willing to uo anu what I wasn't willing to uo. You
know that kinu of stuff, which I uon't think was tiue when I was young, but when I
chose to go back as an auult I hau contiol, anu that's why I uiu it, too, is I wanteu
contiol. I uiun't want to be the victim.
That was a haiu issue foi me when I went thiough tieatment. Like, I'u, you
know, I'u hitchhike ovei to my tieatment centei foi outpatient afteicaie. Some guy
woulu pick me up, of couise, anu say he wanteu to feel my tits foi 4u uollais anu I
coulun't uo it because I was in a tieatment piogiam.
I went back to piostitution foi six months. I neeueu the money. But I ieally
iealizeu that I uiun't want to be that peison that hau to look at eveiy man as a uollai
sign anu uiun't want to have all that angei that I hau to have.

!8)%5P& Q&%85$0 @&6$(5,0%154%
I also pickeu veiy abusive women to be with, ielateu to that veiy aggiessive
lesbian type woman, you know, anu I'm involveu with a woman now. We've been
fiienus foi 1u yeais but we'ie not gay. I mean I'm not. I just quit using that label,
anu I uon't have sex with hei. You know what I'm saying. It's not a sexual thing.
It's just a ieal companionship.
I know I wanteu to talk to you because I auu a uiffeient something. I coulu
have maybe been a veiy seveie abusei.
Pat's account of hei life shows that she hau many iisk factois anu some
piotective factois. Bei piotective factois appeaieu to have been sufficient to leau
hei to stop abusing chiluien sexually. She saiu she uiun't want to uo to otheis what
hau been uone to hei, but concein foi the chiluien's well-being appeaieu to come
much aftei she stoppeu--she saiu she felt guilty about hei effect on Luke aftei Luke
molesteu one of hei fiienus. Bei piime conceins uuiing auolescence appeaieu to
have been what othei people thought of hei, feai of getting caught, anu feai of the
lack of contiol she hau. At the time of the inteiview, she wanteu to believe that hei
sexual behaviois with hei biotheis weie nuituiing anu close anu not violent like
hei fathei's abuse. This appeais to be uenial, iationalization, anu minimization.
The numbei of iisks in hei life weie multiple--physical, sexual, anu emotional
abuse anu neglect fiom hei fathei; witnessing physical anu emotional abuse of hei
mothei; witnessing sexual thieats anu theiefoie abuse of hei youngei biotheis;
chemical abuse on the pait of both paients; inteigeneiational sexual, physical, anu
emotional abuse on both siues of the family; peiceiveu iejection by hei extenueu
family; anu seveial placements in auolescence. Bei mothei may have been
incapacitateu by the abuse she ieceiveu, anu she was not a positive iole mouel foi
Pat, anu Pat mentioneu no otheis.
Pat also hau some piotective factois. Theie piobably was some positive
ielationship between Pat anu hei mothei because when she tolu hei mothei about
the sexual abuse, hei mothei believeu hei anu uivoiceu hei fathei. She coulu
confiue in hei gianumothei, anu even bioke the family iule of "piotecting" the
gianumothei fiom bau family news to tell hei gianumothei about hei fathei's
abuse. Bei gianumothei not only uiu not punish hei foi these uisclosuies, but she
iecipiocateu by telling Pat of the family's histoiy of maltieatment. Pat saiu always
hau one fiienu. In auolescence, this fiienu seiveu to piotect hei fiom
embaiiassment anu a sense of alienation, although she uiu not confiue to hei fiienu
about hei family. She confiueu in a male fiienu, who, in many ways, was a
counteipait who talkeu about iaping women anu who may have been in piison foi
iape at the time of the inteiview. Whethei this ieinfoiceu hei willingness to shaie
peisonally painful mateiial is not cleai.
She showeu many common effects of multiple iisk factois: iunning away,
chemical abuse, juvenile anu auult piostitution, sexual compulsivity, possible sexual
iuentity confusion, eating uisoiueis, vulneiability to fuithei sexual abuse,
iuentifying with hei fathei's sexual aggiession in hei thinking about how she
inteiacteu with hei johns, anu unueistanuable cognitive uistoitions about the
natuie of human ielationships. Sexual abuse of chiluien may be moie common than
we now know among auolescent giils who have suffeieu multiple foims of
maltieatment in the absence of amelioiating influences.
She may have hau sufficient piotective factois to help hei cope with
tenuencies towaiu the uiie outcome of having a life-long caieei of sexually abusing
chiluien. Yet, at the time of the inteiview, she was continuing to ueal with some
seveie effects of hei multiple iisk factois. Some of the effects aie hei thinking anu
behavioi in ielationship to piostitution, the eitheioi of being eithei a victim oi
victimizei, hei seeing hei abuse of hei biotheis as nuituiing as opposeu to hei
fathei's violent abuse, anu hei continual linking of sexual behaviois with violent
This ieseaich will auu to the unueistanuing of iesilience, uefineu as coping
with, iecoveiing fiom, oi oveicoming auveisity (Nasten et al, 199u). The case stuuy
of Pat shows that although positive meuiatois, oi piotective factois, may counteiact
some of the most uestiuctive aspects of exposuie to iisk factois, peisons so exposeu
may not completely oveicome the effects of such exposuie. Peisons with fewei iisk
factois anu moie piotective factois than Pat may bettei fit the so-calleu "vulneiable
but invincible" categoiy uevelopeu by Weinei (1982), but it is likely that even a
small numbei of iisk factois anu a laige numbei of piotections may still iesult in
some seiious anu, peihaps, hiuuen effects iesulting fiom exposuie to auveisity.
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(2uuuS; <21$%7#2 %76 621$%703T >7 %704"&"H?. Los Angeles: Roxbuiy.
uilgun, }ane F. (199S). We shaieu something special: The moial uiscouise of incest
peipetiatois. B"/)7%& "5 U%))$%H2 %76 042 J%:$&?+ -R, 26S-281. V2%6 %)0$#&2;
uilgun, }ane F. (1996). Buman uevelopment anu auveisity in ecological peispective,
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uilgun, }ane F. (1996). Buman uevelopment anu auveisity in ecological peispective:
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uilgun, }ane F. (2uu4). A stiengths-baseu appioach to chilu anu family assessment. In
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S24). New Yoik: Biunei-Routleuge. W$71$026+ =22) 9&$76 )21$2M26S
uilgun, }ane F. (2uu6). Chiluien anu auolescents with pioblematic sexual behaviois:
Lessons fiom ieseaich on iesilience. In Robeit Longo & Bave Piescott (Eus;S+
8/))270 =2)3=2#0$123 "7 M")*$7H M$04 32A/%&&? %HH)233$12 ?"/04 %76 ?"/04 M$04
32A/%& 924%1$") =)"9&2:3 (pp. S8S-S94). Bolyoke, NA: Neaii Piess. ($71$026+
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uilgun, }ane F. (2uu8). Liveu expeiience, ieflexivity, anu ieseaich on peipetiatois of
inteipeisonal violence. ./%&$0%0$12 !"#$%& (")*+ RWIS+ 181-197;
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uilgun, }ane F., & Teiesa N. Connoi. (1989). Bow peipetiatois view chilu sexual abuse.
!"#$%& (")*+ ,Y+ S49-SS1. Repiinteu in the 0.S. Aii Foice hanubook on family
violence anu in the Tiaining Nanual of CoineiBouse, a chilu sexual abuse
evaluation centei, Ninneapolis, NN.
uilgun, }ane F., & Elizabeth Reisei. (199u). Sexual iuentity uevelopment among men
sexually abuseu in chiluhoou. J%:$&$23 $7 !"#$20?+ RE+ S1S-S2S. V2%6 %)0$#&2;
uilgun, }.F., Baly, K., & Banuel, u. (Eus.). (l992). ./%&$0%0$12 :204"63 $7 5%:$&?
)232%)#4. Newbuiy Paik, CA: Sage.
uilgun, }ane F. Chiistian Klein, & Kay Pianis. (2uuu). The significance of iesouices in
mouels of iisk, B"/)7%& "5 C702)=2)3"7%& D$"&27#2+ EY+ 627-646.
uilgun, }ane F., & Lauia S. Abiams (2uuS). uenueieu auaptations, iesilience, anu the
peipetiation of violence. In Nichael 0ngai (Eu"#$ @%769""* 5") M")*$7H M$04
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7u). Toionto: 0niveisity of Toionto Piess W$71$026+ =22) 9&$76 )21$2M26S
uilgun, }ane F., Banette }ones, & Kay Rice. (2uuS). Emotional expiessiveness as an
inuicatoi of piogiess in tieatment. In Naitin C. Caluei (Eu.), Z:2)H$7H
%==)"%#423 0" M")* M$04 #4$&6)27 %76 ?"/7H =2"=&2 M4" 32A/%&&? %9/32 (pp. 2S1-
244). Boiset, Englanu: Russell Bouse.
uilgun, }ane F., & Alankaai Shaima (2uu8). Chilu sexual abuse. In }effiey L. Euleson
& Claiie N. Renzetti (Eus.) Z7#?#&"=26$% "5 C702)=2)3"7%& D$"&27#2 (pp. 122-
12S). Thousanu 0aks, CA: Sage.
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of Noith Caiolina Piess.
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Nasten, A. S., Best, K. N., & uaimezy, N. (l99u). Resilience anu uevelopment:
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Nathews, R, }.K. Natthews, & K. Speltz (l991). Female sex offenueis: A typology. In
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199-219). Newbuiy Paik, CA: Sage.
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1$"&27#2; New Yoik: Boubleuay.
0'Biien, N. (l984, Nay). Auolescent sexual offenueis: An outpatient piogiam's
peispective on ieseaich uiiections. Papei piesenteu at the 1Sth Annual
Chilu Abuse anu Neglect Symposium, Nay 2S, Keystone, C0.
Polkinghoine, B.E. (l988). G%))%0$12 *7"M$7H %76 042 4/:%7 3#$27#23; Albany: State
0niveisity of New Yoik Piess.
Shaima, Alankaai & }ane F. uilgun (2uu8). What peipetiatois say about chilu sexual
abuse. C76$%7 B"/)7%& "5 !"#$%& (")*+ ]QW,S+ S21-SS8.
Sioufe, L.A., & Ruttei, N. (l984). The uomain of uevelopmental psychopathology.
84$&6 <212&"=:270+ --, 17-29.
Weinei, E.E. (l989). Bigh-iisk chiluien in young auulthoou: A longituuinal stuuy
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Weinei, E.E. (l982). D/&72)%9&2 9/0 $71$7#$9&2T > &"7H$0/6$7%& 30/6? "5 )23$&$270
#4$&6)27 %76 ?"/04; New Yoik: Ncuiaw-Bill.
Wiuom, C.S. (l989). Boes violence beget violence. A ciitical examination of the
liteiatuie; X3?#4"&"H$#%& \/&&20$7+ EL]+ S-28.

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Case stuuy ieseaich is impoitant because of its contiibutions to theoiy. A
case stuuy is an intensive look at an inuiviuual unit. The unit can be composeu of a
single entity, such as one peison, oi it can be composeu of multiple entities, such
maiital paitneis in one family unit. The stuuy of a single unit incluues stuuies of
businesses, social seivice agencies, hospitals, couit cases, anu state anu national
goveinments. These lattei kinus of cases aie calleu complex case stuuies because
the single unit has multiple entities within it anu ieseaicheis have focuseu theii
investigations on these multiple entities. The sample size of case stuuy ieseaich can
iange fiom one to hunuieus.
A single case stuuy of an inuiviuual is as viable as a complex case stuuy oi
multiple case stuuies when the analysis is of high quality, is well uocumenteu, anu
contiibutes to theoietical unueistanuings. A single well-analyzeu anu well-
uocumenteu case stuuy can upenu existing theoiy, oi at least begin the piocess of
unueimining existing theoiy.
Foi example, a iecent stuuy of meuical cases pioviueu enough eviuence to
suggest that some patients long uiagnoseu as having Lou uehiig's uisease may
actually have uieu fiom the effects of concussion. The stuuy involveu the
compaiison of the biain pioteins of thiee athletes with a histoiy of concussion anu
thought to have uieu of Lou uehiig's uisease with the biain pioteins of 12 peisons
thought to have uieu of Lou uehiig's uisease.
The ieseaicheis founu that the biain pioteins of the thiee athletes uiffeieu
fiom those of the peisons in the compaiison gioup. A single case casts uoubt on
existing theoiy anu opens the uooi foi stuuies to ieplicate the case. Successive
ieplications of single cases builu stiongei eviuence foi alteinative explanations; that
is, foi new theoiies.
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In case stuuy ieseaich, theoiy is uefineu as statements of ielationship
between two oi moie vaiiables. An example of a theoiy is the following: concussions
can leau to biain uegeneiation whose symptoms aie similai to those of Lou uehiig's
uisease. Statements that iepiesent theoiy aie baseu upon eviuence foi the viability
of the concepts of the theoiy anu of the ielationships between them. Thus, the
ieseaicheis investigating Lou uehiig's uisease baseu theii conclusions on copious
case mateiial.
Woiking theoiies aie statements of ielationships among two oi moie
concepts wheie ieseaicheis have not piesenteu eviuence foi the viability of the
concepts anu of the ielationships between them. Reseaicheis typically use woiking
theoiies in the couise of ueveloping theoiy as they select theii samples, collect uata,
anu analyze uata. Something has to guiue the uecisions they make as they uo sample
selection anu collect anu analyze uata. What guiues these uecisions aie woiking
Neuical ieseaicheis on Lou uehiig's uisease hau a woiking hypothesis about
Lou uehiig's uisease that involveu ielationships between a histoiy of concussion,
biain uegeneiation, anu symptoms of Lou uehiig's uisease. In oiuei to test this
woiking hypothesis, they hau to select compaiison gioups in oiuei to test theii
woiking hypothesis.
Sometimes ieseaicheis use the teim 4?="0423$3 oi M")*$7H 4?="0423$3 as
synonyms foi woiking theoiy. They use M")*$7H 4?="042323 the same way they use
the teim M")*$7H 042")$23. To complicate matteis even fuithei, the teims 4?="0423$3
is useu to name the statements of ielationships that ieseaicheis ueiive fiom theii
initial conceptual fiamewoiks anu that they test in the couise of uoing the ieseaich.
As soon as they use these hypotheses in the conuuct of ieseaich, they become
woiking hypotheses. These aie complicateu iueas that iequiie ieseaicheis to be
able to think flexibly anu expansively.
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Reseaicheis soonei oi latei link theii theoiies, hypotheses, woiking theoiies,
anu woiking hypotheses to ielateu ieseaich anu theoiy. Some case stuuy ieseaich
begins with conceptual fiamewoiks baseu on peivious ieseaich anu theoiy anu
sometimes also on piofessional anu peisonal knowleuge. Reseaicheis uevelop
hypotheses fiom conceptual fiamewoiks. They fuithei uevelop anu test these
hypotheses in the conuuct of the ieseaich.
In some instances wheie ieseaicheis begin with conceptual fiamewoiks,
ieseaicheis might not ueiive hypotheses fiom the conceptual fiamewoik. Insteau,
ieseaicheis uevelop woiking hypotheses aftei they have begun theii ieseaich. To
uo this, they take open-enueu appioaches in theii effoits to unueistanu inuiviuual
cases. Eventually, they uevelop woiking hypotheses.
Finally, some case stuuy ieseaich uoes not begin with conceptual
fiamewoiks at all, but insteau ieseaicheis uevelop woiking hypotheses thiough
open-enueu ieseaich. 0nce they have woiking hypotheses, they then ielate the
woiking hypotheses to existing ieseaich anu theoiyT
No mattei when ieseaicheis ueiive theii hypotheses, they must show how
finuings contiibute to existing ieseaich anu theoiy, challenge existing ieseaich anu
theoiy, anuoi pioviue eviuence foi the mouification of existing theoiy. The meuical
ieseaicheis stuuying Lou uehiig's uisease uiu just that. Theii finuings consist of the
theoiies they have uevelopeu, the eviuence that suppoits theii theoiies, anu the
links between the theoiies, the eviuence, anu pievious ieseaich anu theoiy.
In applieu fielus, ieseaicheis must also show the implications of theii
finuings foi piactice. In the stuuy of Lou uehiig's uisease, foi example, the
ieseaicheis iecommenueu when athletes show symptoms of Lou uehiig's uisease
that physicians also iecommenu that physician exploie the hypothesis that the
athletes may have othei uegeneiative uiseases besiues Lou uehiig's. It makes sense
that when patients piesent with symptoms of Lou uehiig's uisease that meuical
peisonnel take a uetaileu histoiy that incluues histoiy of heau tiauma.
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As the pievious uiscussion shows, case stuuy ieseaich is theoiy-guiueu
ieseaich anu theoiy uevelopment ieseaich. The thiee ways that ieseaicheis
uevelop woiking hypotheses have names. When ieseaicheis begin theii ieseaich
with a woiking hypothesistheoiy ueiiveu fiom theii conceptual fiamewoik, this is
calleu analytic inuuction (AI) oi ueuuctive qualitative analysis (BQA), which is an
upuating of AI. Case stuuies that begin with theoiy go back foi at least 1uu yeais to
the pioceuuies useu at the Chicago School of Sociology.
These initial hypotheses help focus the ieseaich anu thus guiue the conuuct
of the ieseaich, as in selecting samples, guiuing the questions anu the focus of
obseivations, anu in inteipieting finuings. The ieseaicheis who stuuieu Lou
uehiig's uisease useu woiking hypotheses to guiue theii stuuies in this way.
Reseaicheis continually ievise theii woiking hypotheses to fit theii
inteipietations of the finuings. Revisions occui as ieseaicheis look foi cases anu
instances within cases that might contiauict oi auu new uimensions to theii
woiking hypotheses. This is calleu negative case analysis. Reseaicheis typically uo
AIBQA when theii goal is to test anu uevelop alieauy existing theoiy oi when they
want a cleai focus at the onset of theii investigations.
Beginning with a cleai focus has many auvantages, incluuing making use of
the liteiatuie ieview that most ieseaicheis conuuct befoie they begin theii ieseaich
anu also to test any iueas ieseaicheis uevelopeu fiom piofessional anu peisonal
expeiience. Bisseitation committees anu funueis iequiie liteiatuie ieviews anu
cleai foci. Theiefoie, ieseaicheis anu stuuents who want to uo case stuuy ieseaich
typically uo liteiatuie ieviews anu begin theii stuuies with woiking hypotheses.
When ieseaicheis uevelop theii woiking hypotheses in the couise of uoing
the ieseaich, this pioceuuie has the name H)"/7626 042")?. The uses of theoiy in
giounueu theoiy aie almost iuentical to the pioceuuies of AIBQA. 0nce
ieseaicheis uoing giounueu theoiy have uevelopeu woiking hypotheses that guiue
theii ieseaich, they seek to test anu uevelop it fuithei.
uiounueu theoiists typically use theoietical sampling, which is a way of
selecting the next case to stuuy baseu upon what uiiections the ieseaicheis want to
go in the uevelopment of theii woiking theoiieshypotheses. When ieseaicheis uo
not use theoietical sampling in the conuuct of giounueu theoiy, they have to explain
how theii methou of sample selection seiveu the puipose of fuithei ueveloping
theii theoiy.
Reseaicheis who uo an initial ieview of the liteiatuie anu then being theii
ieseaich with no hypotheses to test aie uoing a viable kinu of stuuy. 0nce they
uevelop theii woiking hypotheses, theii pioceuuies aie similai to those of uT anu
As ieseaicheis uevelop anu test woiking hypotheses, they must be awaie
that theii geneial stoie of knowleuge anu the liteiatuie ieview piimes them so that
ceitain theoiies anu iueas aie moie salient in theii minus than otheis. Thus, while
giounueu theoiists to be open-enueu in iuentifying woiking hypotheses, they also
aie moie likely to notice phenomena that aie alieauy salient. Reseaicheis aie nevei
blank slates.
uiounueu theoiists have a name foi piiming, which is theoietical sensitivity.
In uoing giounueu theoiy, the assumption is that ieseaicheis have a wiue iepeitoiie
of knowleuge of theoiies. While this may be so foi seasoneu ieseaicheis, it is not the
case foi most new ieseaicheis. Thus the moie focuseu appioacheu of AIBQA may
woik bettei foi new ieseaicheis.
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When ieseaicheis wiite up case stuuy ieseaich, they uesciibe the
pioceuuies they useu foi ueveloping, testing, anu ievising woiking hypotheses.
They then uocument the eviuence on which they base the final veisions of theii
woiking hypotheses. Next, they show how theii woiking hypotheses aie similai to,
auu to, contiauict, anu foice mouification of existing theoiy.
Stiong conceptual skills anu capacities foi abstiact ieasoning aie iequiieu
foi this kinu of analysis. In shoit, the finuings of case stuuy ieseaich incluue the
theoiy ieseaicheis have uevelopeu, the eviuence that suppoits the viability of the
theoiy, anu what the theoiy contiibutes to existing knowleuge. In applieu fielus,
ieseaicheis also make suggestions foi how finuings can be useful in piactice,
policies, anu piogiams.
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The theoiies of Fieuu, Piaget, anu Eiickson aie baseu on case stuuies. They
uiu intensive investigations of inuiviuual units, who weie peisons. They extiacteu
fiom these case stuuies abstiact concepts anu piinciples. They showeu the
giounuing of these abstiactions thiough the piesentation of case mateiial. They
uesciibeu theii ieason. Thiough these effoits, they piouuceu theoiy that
ievolutionizeu unueistanuings of human uevelopment.
Case stuuies aie the founuation of many uisciplines. Laboiatoiy expeiiments
aie case stuuies. Nuch of meuical, legal, social woik, anu clinical psychology
euucation is baseu on case stuuies. Stuuents, with the guiuance of piofessois, take
intensive looks at inuiviuual units in oiuei to ueiive lessons oi woiking hypotheses
about these cases.
They then use these woiking hypotheses to help them unueistanu
subsequent cases. They stuuy the chaiacteiistics of the subsequent cases anu uo the
best job they can to see how theii woiking hypotheses help them to unueistanu anu
to make uecisions about these subsequent cases. Piofessionals built theii expeitise
when they extiact geneial piinciples fiom case stuuies, test these piinciples on
subsequent cases, anu when the piinciples fit, use these piinciples to guiue theii
piactice. Thioughout theii piactice with inuiviuual cases, piofessionals continually
monitoi whethei theii thinking anu juugments fit the paiticulaiities of the cases.
! E,(& ,0 Q$0:)$:&
The language of social ieseaich can be confusing to newcomeis. Foi example,
the teim #"7#2=0 is a synonyms foi 1%)$%9&2s. uiounueu theoiists seek coie
concepts, which aie the builuing blocks of hypotheses anu theoiies. As shown in the
pievious uiscussion, the teims 4?="0423$s anu 042")? may be useu inteichangeably
anu which teim to useu uepenus upon context. The notion of conceptual fiamewoik
is confusing, too.
Typically #"7#2=0/%& 5)%:2M")* iefeis to the entiie fiist section of a pioposal
oi ieseaich iepoit, enuing at the methous section. Some ieseaicheis, howevei, use
the teim #"7#2=0/%& 5)%:2M")* to stanu foi initial hypotheses anu sometimes foi
woiking hypotheses anu woiking theoiy, anu even foi the final veision of a theoiy
that is pait of the iesults of the ieseaich. Again, the contexts in which the teim is
useu pioviue some clues as the meanings useis intenu.
Some othei useful teims aie concept-inuicatoi mouel anu fiist anu seconu
oiuei concepts. Concepts in the concept-inuicatoi mouel aie abstiactions fiom
inuicatois. Inuicatois aie uesciiptions of paiticulai conciete social piocesses. Fiist
oiuei concepts aie uefineu in the same way as inuicatois. Seconu-oiuei concepts
aie uefineu the same way as concepts in the concept-inuicatoi mouel.
The iueas of concept-inuicatoi anu fiist anu seconu-oiuei concepts aie
impoitant in case stuuy ieseaich. In iepoiting finuings, ieseaicheis must piesent
theii theoiies, which aie baseu on concepts, anu the eviuence foi theii theoiies,
which aie inuicatois oi fiist-oiuei concepts. Situating finuings within existing
ieseaich anu theoiy is the next step in builuing case stuuy finuings. The final step is
composeu of iecommenuations foi fuithei ieseaich anu applications.
Case stuuy ieseaich is valuable because of its contiibution to theoiy. Without
iefeience to theoiy, case stuuies pioviue anecuotal infoimation. In othei woius,
case stuuies only have value in ielationship to cuiiently helu unueistanuings anu
Case stuuy ieseaich is uifficult. Reseaicheis must have supeiioi conceptual
skills. They must be able to apply concepts anu hypotheses to paiticulai situations,
to extiact concepts anu hypotheses fiom paiticulai situations, to use eviuence to
mouify woiking hypotheses anu to uevelop new woiking hypotheses, to explain
how they uevelopeu the theoiy, to wiite theoiy cleaily, to piesent the eviuence that
suppoits theii contention that theii theoiy is viable anu cieuible, anu ielate the
theoiy they uevelop to what is alieauy known.
If ieseaicheis begin with a conceptual fiamewoik, they must be able to
iuentify the iange of ieseaich anu theoiy that is ielevant to theii topic, unueistanu,
categoiize, anu synthesize this infoimation, anu, in AIBQA, ueiive hypotheses fiom
the conceptual fiamewoik. They then must fuithei uevelop anu test theii initial
hypotheses, seek uisconfiiming eviuence, keep tiack of the changes they make in
theii woiking hypotheses anu the uata that leu them to make changes. They then
have to situate theii finuings in what is alieauy known In choosing to uevelop
woiking hypotheses while engageu in the ieseaich, in the style of giounueu theoiy,
ieseaicheis must have skills that aie similai to those of ieseaicheis who begin theii
stuuies with hypotheses.
!8,)( (1& !)(1,3
}ane F. uilgun, Ph.B., LICSW, is a piofessoi, School of Social Woik, 0niveisity
of Ninnesota, Twin Cities, 0SA. See Piofessoi uilgun's othei aiticles, books, anu
chiluien's stoiies on Amazon Kinule, iBooks, anu Sciibu.com foi a vaiiety of e-
ieaueis anu mobile uevices.
@&-&3&0B&% X M)3(1&3 @&$*50:
Biyant, Antony & Kathy Chaimaz (Eus.), K42 !%H2 4%769""* "5 H)"/7626
042")?. Thousanu 0aks, CA: Sage.
Coibin, }uliet & Anselm Stiauss. (2uu8). \%3$#3 "5 ^/%&$0%0$12 )232%)#4T
K2#47$^/23 %76 =)"#26/)23 5") 6212&"=$7H H)"/7626 042")? (Siu eu.). Thousanu 0aks,
CA: Sage.
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