Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Joan Rycraft


Common patterns and themes emerge from the unique experiences of individuals who have managed to turn personal tragedies into positive macro-level outcomes, such as societal change or agency creation. A number of research questions exploring the factors that influence an individual's decision and ability to create positive change from trauma, pain or suffering were explored throughout the study. Interviews and document reviews contributed to the study of why and how some individuals have been able to accomplish such commendable undertakings. A purposeful sample of nine individuals, both males and females, were interviewed. Purposeful and snowball methods of sampling were used to gain access to these individuals. Established, open-ended interview questions initiated the interview, followed by grounded theory coding and categorizations. The need to help others, spirituality, keeping memory alive, and furthering loved one's interests were motivating factors. Benefits were described as healing, fulfilling and strength gained. Harms were exhaustion and lack of balance in life. Practitioners, policy makers and individuals who have experienced trauma can utilize the models discussed to implement future positive change.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons