• Mothers Engaging in Street-Level Prostitution: A Lived Experience

      Bailey-Kloch, Marie; Shdaimah, Corey S. (2019)
      Abstract Title of Dissertation: Mothers Engaging in Street-Level Prostitution: A Lived Experience Marie G. Bailey-Kloch, Doctor of Philosophy, 2019 Dissertation Directed by Corey Shdaimah, PhD, Professor, School of Social Work This dissertation is a qualitative study with mothers who engage in street-level prostitution. Using a phenomenological approach, this study explored how respondents understand their roles as mothers who engage in street-level prostitution and how these two identities co-exist. The aim of the study was an examination of the way motherhood is understood and explained by the women themselves. The purpose was to understand the way women who engage prostitution construct and define motherhood and how they feel about themselves by eliciting their stories through a phenomenological lens. Six mothers engaging in street-level prostitution were interviewed; a second in-depth semi-structured interview was conducted with five of these. After an analysis employing an interpretive phenomenological approach (IPA), three themes emerged from the data: addiction, perseverance and motherhood. All the respondents met the criteria for the DSM 5 diagnosis of severe substance use disorder. They had the resilience to survive in spite of a lack of resources and enduring trauma. They all believed they had qualities of being a “good mother” even if that meant not living with their children. These findings may help to structure programs that may help influence whether they will seek services to improve the quality of their own lives and the lives of their children. Current programs delivering services to mothers engaged in street-level prostitution, such as substance abuse treatment and diversion programs, do not always recognize the significance to their women participants of being identified as a mother. The insights and perspectives of study respondents regarding their lived experience provides guidance to improve policy and programs that deliver services to mothers who engage in street-level prostitution.