Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

First Advisor

Beverly Kruempel


Qualitative research was conducted at a Midwestern state women's prison to explore how six incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women created their mothering subjectivities prior to their imprisonment. It also investigated how their mothering subjectivities were affected by their experiences in the prison's intervention programs specifically with the Storybook Project of Iowa: a mother-child support program that focused on literacy. This feminist narrative research explored how prison intervention programs, when coupled with the mother-child support project, transformed the women's understandings of themselves and their mothering. This transformation was aided by the women's self-reflective use of narrative through a series of three interviews. The study has implications for programming in women's prisons, advocating the use of intervention programs along with mother-child support literacy programs. Through their experiences with these programs the incarcerated mothers rebuilt or nurtured relationships with their children, connected with family members caring for their children, improved their literacy skills and those of their children, reconsidered their mothering identity and improved their perception of self, and through interactions with the program's volunteers acknowledged the community's support of them and their children. In addition this study has implications for reducing recidivism of incarcerated mothers through the women's improved relationships with their children and family members.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Betty Chamness Trost



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

231 pages