Heidi Sampson, Ph.D. is a 2024 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Heidi Sampson at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Lemual Watson, Committee Chair, Dr. Fayth Parks, Committee Member, Dr. Gayle Ukockis, Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee


contextual autoethnography, leadership, single mothers, stereotypes, stigmatization, intimate partner violence, marital rape, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, institutions, religion, misogyny, patriarchy, hegemonic masculinity, post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, post traumatic stress symptoms, PTSS

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This dissertation is a contextual autoethnography of my lived experience with stigmatization, stereotypes, and institutional obstructions as a divorced single mother who previously experienced intimate partner violence and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The purpose of the study is to shed light on the complexity of the single motherhood experience, both internally and externally. From 2009 to 2019, the institutions I accessed for assistance as a single mother and those I interacted with for my children, my job, my health, and even within the church were unnecessarily burdensome financially, physically, and emotionally. This dissertation takes a contextual look at print media, legal statutes, laws, other domestic violence cases, court cases, and institutional issues in my lifetime that may have affected either those I encountered or my perceptions. While looking at my autoethnography and the contextual experience of the time period, I will also be examining Jack Holland’s (2006) A Brief History of Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice to extend his findings into the realm of a single mother’s lived experience. Holland’s work will show how the dualism of misogyny has infiltrated every institution through patriarchy’s ideal conception of family, which uses hegemonic masculinities as its strong-arm enforcer for societal control with stereotypes and stigmatizations as the quickest way to keep single mothers in line. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Heidi Sampson

ORCID: #0009-0008-8697-790X

Heidi Sampson works in communications and public relations for a religious, social justice nonprofit. She also works as an adjunct in the English department at Minnesota State University (MNSU), Mankato. Heidi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Women’s Studies from MNSU, a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in Poetry and Nonprofit Leadership from MNSU, and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.