Dissertation Title:

The Transformative Function of Truth-telling in a Woman’s Midlife Journey


Karen Lynne Peterson

Date, Time & Place:

October 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm
Lecture Hall, Lambert Road campus


This depth-oriented study focuses on narratives shared by six women about their midlife transition experience and the evolution of their self-expression. Truth-telling is generally defined as a person’s willingness and dedication to speaking her own personal truth regardless of the consequences. The narratives of the six postmenopausal women, including the researcher, who participated in this study, were analyzed using the voice-centered relational method advanced by Gilligan and colleagues (Gilligan, Spencer, Weinberg & Bertsch, 2003). The participants’ narratives provided an overview of the evolution of truth-telling in each woman’s life. The research supported the hypothesis that women demonstrate a greater willingness to share their truth authentically as they move through midlife. For the participants of this study, midlife was a time of significant change and transformation toward an authentic life that has more meaning and purpose. Beginning in their mid-forties, the women spoke of experiencing a distinct paradigm shift in the way they communicated their emotions to others. The women described a turning away from societal roles and expectations toward an inner focus and deeper, holistic connection to self. The women in this study recognized that through maintaining an inner focus, they have become able to more easily express themselves truthfully to others. The results of this study indicate that midlife is a time of transformational change that brings about a more integrated sense of self reflected in one’s core values and evolving truth.



This is due to Pacifica’s conditional use permit, which restricts campus parking. Please call 896-1887 or 896-1888 for a shuttle pickup from the Best Western. A Pacifica shuttle driver will pick you up within 10 minutes or so and take you to the campus.

*Also please note coursework students will be on campus this day – Please be mindful of them and their respective classrooms.*

*Dining room service is not available for oral defense attendees*

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, Track O, 2008
  • Chair: Dr. Christine Downing
  • Reader: Dr. Lori Pye
  • External Reader: Dr. Candace Cant
  • Keywords: Women, Midlife, Truth-telling, Self-silencing, Authenticity, Menopause