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The Emotional Trajectories of Women's Desistance: A Repertory Grid Study on Women Exiting Prostitution

Johnson, Helen (2015) The Emotional Trajectories of Women's Desistance: A Repertory Grid Study on Women Exiting Prostitution. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.53612) (KAR id:53612)


This research identifies and explores the emotions of women who are exiting (leaving) prostitution. In both the prostitution and desistance literature, emotional factors clearly emerge as part of the process of change for exiters and desisters; however, there has been very little direct focus on their importance and impact on this process. The research makes a unique contribution to the desistance literature by mapping the process of change for women with particularly complex and challenging circumstances and focusing on the emotional aspects of this change. Overall, the research confirms that understanding the emotional aspects of exit offers new insights and gives rise to a new approach to service provision. The findings reveal that emotions are central to desistance and that role transition is a prerequisite for desistance. The data has shown that exit is a process of self-determination, becoming one’s authentic self, and that this process is bound up with emotional drivers and barriers. The process of exit necessarily involves fostering positive emotional experiences through both external and internal changes. The data suggests that an understanding of dominant emotional constructs at any given time will give a gateway into how best to respond to the needs and motivations of the exiter through service provision and offers an emotionally intelligent model to meet these needs. Service provision plays a key role in bridging the change in lifestyle of exiters through generating emotional energy, increasing access to alternatives, fostering hope, and enabling women to reimagine their lives.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Matthews, Roger
Thesis advisor: O'Brien, Kate
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.53612
Uncontrolled keywords: Desistance; Gender; Role Transition; Emotions; Personal Construct Theory; Repertory Grid Technique; Prostitution; Exit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2016 16:00 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 11:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Johnson, Helen.

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