School of Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)
Phenomenology, Life Span Development, Family Systems, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Black Feminist Thought
Ward, Bernadette Denise, "Exploring the Impact of Generational Trauma on Mother-Daughter Relationships with an Emphasis on the African American Community" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4010.
In many communities the mother-daughter relationship is not only vital in the younger years but also in the teen and young adult years. Several studies have explored a mother’s influence on her daughter’s views of the self, others, and the world in general. The mother-daughter relationship does not only impact personal morals and values but also the types of relationships the daughters gravitate to. In the African American community, many of the mother-daughter relationships are known to be similar in nature and/or dynamics throughout generations. Relationships that are tainted or known as toxic also seem to cycle throughout several generations. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to explore the impact of generational trauma amongst a family on the mother-daughter relationship within the African American community. This study will also seek to explore if the mother-daughter relationship influences a daughter’s self-identity and relationships. This study will also evaluate if there is a connection between family trauma and self-identity and preferred relationships. The theories guiding this study will be the life span developmental theory which has origin in many eighteenth and nineteenth century writers especially Johann Nikolaus Tetens and Adolphe Quetelet, Murray Bowen’s family systems theory as well as Black Feminist Thought. There is a need for this research as many young women in the African American community are longing to break generational curses of complex mother-daughter relationships. Many young women in the African American community believe that their views and personal bias were created independently. However, these views may be attributed to inadequate education about one’s family. Some innate values and beliefs may be present within the family for generations and simply passed down through the mother-daughter relationship. This research also contributes by fulfilling the need for African American female scholars to not only research but also interpret the experiences of African American women.