A single-case study of resiliency after extreme incest in an old order amish family

William M. McGuigan, Sarah J. Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This exploratory research brief presents a single case study of the resiliency of "Mary B." She grew up in an Old Order Amish family where isolation, secrecy, and patriarchy masked repeated sexual assaults by her older brothers that began at age 7. By the age of 20, Mary alleged she had been raped on more than 200 separate occasions by members of her Amish family. After years of pleading with her mother and church officials to intervene, she sought therapy outside the Amish community. This led to three of her brothers being incarcerated. Her family disowned her and she was banned from the Amish community, leaving with an 8th grade education and little more than the clothes she was wearing. In less than 2 years, Mary had moved to a new town, completed her GED, obtained a car and driving license, maintained a small home, and worked as a certified nursing assistant. She consented to tape recorded interviews and completed several quantitative diagnostic measures. Scores on the diagnostic measures placed her within the normal range on self-esteem, competency, depression, stress, social support, and life skills. Analysis of interviews revealed Mary rebounded from her past by reframing her experiences. Themes identified within the interviews supported 6 of the 7 types of resiliencies (insight, independence, initiative, relationships, humor, and morality) outlined in the therapeutic Challenge Model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-537
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 4 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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