Judith Daniluk

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not looking for graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows. Please do not contact the faculty member with any such requests.


Research Classification

Interpersonal Communication

Research Interests

Women' sexuality and reproductive health
developmental transitions
clinical supervision

Relevant Degree Programs


Research Methodology

Qualitative Methods: phenomenology, narrative

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
A phenomenological analysis of mid-life women’s challenges in their relationships with food (2015)

To date, the vast majority of research exploring disordered eating (DE) and eating disorders (EDs) among women has been conducted with younger populations. However, a small but growing body of literature has demonstrated the increasing prevalence of eating problems among mid-life women. Despite recent scholarly interest in this area, very little is known about mid-life women’s experiences of living with eating challenges, and the meanings they attribute to this phenomenon. The current study was designed to address this gap in the literature, using a hermeneutic phenomenological methodology (van Manen, 1990). The research question that guided this inquiry was: “What is the meaning and experience of having a problematic relationship with food for women in mid-life?” In-depth, audio-recorded qualitative research interviews were conducted with nine women between the ages of 41 and 65. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and a thematic analysis consistent with van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological approach was conducted. Six common themes emerged from the participants’ experiences of having a problematic relationship with food in mid-life: (1) Sense of Food as Comfort and a Means of Coping, (2) Sense of Guilt and Shame, (3) Sense of Needing Control, (4) Sense of Food and Eating as Addiction, (5) Sense of Pressure to Conform, and (6) Sense of Loss of Social Power and Visibility. The study findings are discussed within the context of the extant literature exploring EDs among younger and mid-life women, and similarities and differences between these demographic groups are explored. Finally, implications of the study findings for theory, research, and clinical practice are discussed.

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The role of social ties in the process of settlement of migrant survivors of political violence : a critical ethnographic study (2015)

In spite of the growing numbers of civilians who are fleeing their homes for the reasons of political violence, migrant survivors of political violence are significantly overlooked in psychological theory and research. In addition, clinical and social practices and polices involving this population are seldom based on empirical findings. Even though established psychological literature identifies the significant positive role of social factors in coping with stress, trauma, and life transitions, the role of social relationships in the successful settlement of migrant survivors has seldom been explored. Due to a lack of attention to the needs of migrant survivors, and psychology’s narrow research focus on individual “pathology”, little is known about factors, such as social ties, that may contribute to successful settlement outcomes of this population.This critical ethnographic study explored the diverse experiences and roles of social ties in the process of settlement for 8 migrant survivors of political violence residing in Vancouver and Winnipeg. The research design of this study involved three distinct, yet tightly interwoven, stages: reflexivity, dialogical stage, and system’s analysis, based on information collected in the interviews, participant observation, and conversations with 8 providers of clinical services. The results of the current study contribute to Counselling Psychology’s theoretical literature on transition and multiculturalism by identifying and describing various types of migrant survivors’ social ties and their diverse roles in the participants’ settlement process. In contrast to linear, universalizing, and apolitical psychological theories of acculturation, these results suggest a conceptualization of settlement as a continuous, dynamic, interactive, and social process rooted in its larger socio-political and economic contexts. In addition to their theoretical value, these results will serve to inform clinical and social practices designed to aid settlement of migrant survivors of political violence.

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Older adults' experiences of having managed well in making the transition to assisted living (2014)

The number of Canadians over the age of 65 is consistently increasing, and it is estimated that by 2026 over one fifth of the population will be 65 years or older. A significant transition faced by individuals later in life is the move to residential care. In order to better understand the phenomenon of managing well in making the transition to assisted living, eleven individuals between the ages of 66 and 95 were interviewed. The study used an interpretive phenomenological approach guided by the research question: What is the meaning and experience for older adults, of managing-well in making the transition to assisted living? Participants’ accounts of the meaning of managing their transition to assisted living well and common aspects of the experience were identified. The results found that seven themes were common to their experiences of having managed well in making the transition: (1) sense of improved quality of life, (2) sense of belonging, (3) willingness to get involved, (4) sense of continuity, (5) sense of acceptance, (6) perceived sense of openness and (7) not wanting to be a burden. This study provides an in-depth understanding of what may contribute to managing well in making what has previously been identified as a challenging transition. Potential implications for theory, research, and policies for assisted living facilities are discussed. In addition, implications of the study’s findings for counsellors working with older adults and their families around entry into assisted living are addressed.

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When time runs out : the experience of unintentional childlessness for women who delayed childbearing (2014)

Given that an increasing number of women are waiting to have children there is growing concern that more women will end up unintentionally childless as they continue to delay childbearing past the time when a viable pregnancy is possible. However, little is known about the experience of permanent, unintentional childlessness for women who have delayed childbearing. This phenomenon was the focus of this study. A qualitative approach was used to answer the question: What is the meaning and experience of permanent unintentional childlessness for women who delayed childbearing? In-depth, tape recorded interviews were conducted with 15 women who had expected to become mothers but were now permanently and unintentionally childless after delaying childbearing. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological method. Thematic representations and rich descriptions of the experience of this phenomenon were developed. Six common themes were identified across the women’s experiences of unintentional childlessness after delay including: 1) Sense of Grief and Loss; 2) Sense of Being an Outsider in a World of Mothers; 3) Sense of Judgment and Assumptions; 4) Sense of Powerlessness; 5) Need to Make Sense of Childlessness; and 6) Sense of Reconciliation and Acceptance. Trustworthiness of the results was determined using criteria consistent with the hermeneutic phenomenological method. The findings are compared with the theoretical and extant literature, with emphasis being placed on how they extend our current understanding of the phenomenon of permanent unintentional childlessness after delay for women. The implications for Counselling Psychology practice and future research are also addressed.

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Stories of loss and change : six mothers’ experiences of parenting an adult child with a mental illness (2013)

A qualitative narrative research method was used to explore and describe the experiences of personal growth and change of six mothers of adult children with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who volunteered to participate in this study. A total of twenty-eight semi-structured interviews (average four per participant), were conducted over a period of two years. The research question was: How do parents of adult children with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder experience personal growth and change as they live with the challenges and uncertainties associated with their child's mental illness? Individual, co-constructed first person narratives of each participant's mothering experiences were written following an in-depth, holistic-content analysis of the interview data. A cross-narrative analysis was also conducted which resulted in four common themes (Enduring sadness and loss, Distress and struggle, Commitment to helping/action, Personal and relational change); four significant threads (What will happen when I am no longer able to care for my child?, Impact on siblings who are well, Fluctuations in hope, Regret/Guilt); and four broader dimensions (New normal mothering, Changes in mothering over time, Involvement in the mental health system, Adaptation and engagement with life in new and meaningful ways). These findings were found to be best understood through the conceptual lens of nonfinite loss – reflecting the ongoing challenges and lifetime implications of this mothering experience. Implications for theory, research and counselling psychology practice are addressed, based on these findings.

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Older adults' narration and understanding of their experiences of being vitally engaged in living (2012)

Ten women and men between the ages of 69 and 85 participated in a study that explored how older adults narrate and understand their experiences of being vitally engaged in living. The research question was: How Do Men and Women Seventy Years of Age and Older Narrate and Understand the Experience of Being Vitally Engaged in Living? The purpose was to reveal the strengths that some older individuals possess and learn how they manage to cope with the many losses and challenges of later life while still being able to engage in living full, meaningful, and vital lives. Participants were chosen who were articulate in English, perceived themselves to be living vital lives, and had no cognitive impairment, mental illness, or physical disability that would exclude them from being interviewed for a long period of time. Positive psychology formed the theoretical framework for the study. A narrative inquiry was chosen as the methodology for the study because it is founded on studying individuals in-depth, focuses on the whole both in context and in time, and is accomplished through the stories participants tell and the meaning they make of those stories. One or, if needed, two interactive narrative interviews were conducted.The interviews were transcribed verbatim. A holistic-content approach was used to read, interpret, and analyze each participant’s story which resulted in ten individual written narratives. Validation interviews were conducted with the participants to check the rigor of the individual narratives. A categorical-content approach was used to construct the common themes in living a vital life across all the participants’ narratives which resulted in ten common themes and subthemes therein. This resulted in one written common themes narrative. Validation interviews were conducted with the participants, peer reviewers, and expert reviewers to check the rigor of the common themes narrative.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Freezing the biological clock : the experience of undergoing social egg freezing for delayed childbearing (2018)

Recent years have seen growing trends toward delayed childbearing and the increasing use of assisted reproductive technologies. In 2012, egg freezing was made available as an elective procedure for healthy reproductive age women to attempt to preserve their fertility. As more women delay childbearing and pursue social egg freezing, it is important to improve our understanding of this phenomenon. To date, limited research has examined the experiences of women who have undergone this procedure, and this study sought to address this gap in the literature. The research question guiding this study was: What is the meaning and experience of undergoing social egg freezing for the purpose of delaying childbearing? Through the use of a qualitative phenomenological approach, in-depth unstructured interviews were conducted with six women of reproductive age who electively underwent egg freezing in order to delay childbearing, for the purpose of learning about the meaning and experience of this phenomenon. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological framework. Six common themes emerged from the women’s stories, including: Sense of Reducing the Pressure to Have a Child, Sense of Taking Control and Agency, Sense of Personal Empowerment and Acceptance, Sense of Feeling Fortunate, Sense of Keeping Options Open, and Openness with Others. The research findings are presented and discussed within the context of the limited existing literature on social egg freezing, with an emphasis on highlighting new areas of understanding. The implications of these findings on counselling practice are discussed and suggestions are made for future research.

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Examining the role of appearance ideal internalization and body image concerns on women's experiences of cognitive distraction during sex and sexual desire (2015)

Existing research grounded in objectification theory has demonstrated links between the internalization of sociocultural appearance ideals, body image concerns, and problems with sexual functioning and satisfaction for women in Western cultures. However, less is known about how these constructs impact women’s experiences of distraction during sex and sexual desire. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of multiple facets of appearance ideal internalization and body image concerns in predicting women’s experiences of sexual desire and distracting thoughts during partnered sexual activity. One hundred and thirty four adult women from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland participated in an online survey and completed measures of thin ideal internalization, weight bias internalization, body shape concerns, body esteem (sexual attractiveness, weight concern, physical condition), sexual desire, and appearance and performance-based distraction during sexual activity. Correlations supported previous research findings demonstrating links among appearance ideal internalization, body image concerns, and cognitive distraction during sex, with the exception of sexual desire, which was not associated with cognitive distraction during sex. As hypothesized, regression analyses revealed that appearance ideal internalization and body shape concerns uniquely predicted appearance and performance-based distractions during sex. Specifically, weight bias internalization, body shape and weights concerns, and low self-perceived sexual attractiveness emerged as the strongest predictors. Finally, results indicated that sexual desire was not predicted by body image concerns, appearance ideal internalization, or cognitive distraction during sex. Findings are discussed in the context of current literature.

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Women's experiences completing an online psychoeducational intervention for sexual health after cancer : a narrative inquiry (2015)

Psychoeducational interventions have been found to be effective in helping patients with distressing sexual sequelae commonly experienced after cancer treatment that can persist for years. Geographical barriers, time, financial constraints, and embarrassment/ discomfort prevent a large number of patients from accessing in-person psychosexual support. Quantitative results of a pilot online psychoeducation intervention for sexual health after cancer (OPES) revealed the program helped improve sexually-related distress, depressive symptoms and all domains of sexual response (i.e., desire, arousal, orgasm, lubrication, satisfaction, and pain) among 46 partnered women which were maintained at the 6-month follow-up. A high attrition rate (56.25%) and lengthy program completion times (M=30 weeks) suggest the program may have been helpful for a subset of female reproductive and colorectal cancer survivors. The current study implemented a narrative methodology in order to gain deeper insight into how OPES was experienced by six women who completed the program. In in-depth, in-person, largely unstructured interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, analysed, and constructed into 6 individual narrative summaries (presented in full). A cross-case analysis between the 6 summaries revealed several common themes and subthemes subsumed under perceived benefits and challenges in completing the program, motivations, and suggested program improvements. Results are presented herein. Individual bio-psycho-social factors influenced the degree of distress that women experienced in completing the program and how helpful it was in improving their “sexual functioning.” These findings highlight the importance of incorporating qualitative research in improving our understanding of how such programs are perceived and experienced as helpful by those who participate in them. Implications for future research on psychoeducational interventions for the sexual sequelae of cancer and its treatment are also discussed.

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Motherhood? : stories of decision (2012)

Six women participated in this qualitative study investigating how unpartnered women intheir early 30’s negotiate the decision of whether or not to pursue motherhood within the contextof their life circumstances. Previous research has largely focused on fertility intentions anddecision-making processes of married women, and/or those whose ages are within the expectedreproduction time frame. This research supports the limited, recent qualitative literaturehighlighting the experiences of women facing biological pressures, along with influencespresented within the circumstances of their lives.Narrative methodology provided the structure for this study and participants wereencouraged to share their parenthood decision-making stories with guidance from open-endedquestions when necessary. The in-depth narratives of these participants generated severalcommon thematic threads: Relationships (romantic and otherwise); a sense of personal agency;family and peer influences; career and financial influences; a sense of readiness; biologicalpressures; research, and community support.Findings from this research supports that the parenthood decision can be particularlycomplicated and confusing for women who are unpartnered in their early 30’s, not only due totheir relationship status, but because of competing pressures, ambitions and demands. The storiesshared by these participants also reflect the non-linear decision-making process and supports thatthe decision is based on events and experiences encountered throughout their life journeys.Mental health practitioners can invariably learn from this research, especially when assistingwomen who are negotiating parenthood while in their early 30’s. Further qualitative andquantitative research could substantiate and add to these findings by deepening the identifiedthematic threads or capturing additional thematic threads identified by diverse groups of women.

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Current Students & Alumni

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