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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

M. Christine King

Second Advisor

Eileen Hayes

Third Advisor

Peggy Speas

Subject Categories



Contentment is a universally lived experience that is inexplicably intertwined with health and quality of life. The aims of this humanbecoming hermeneutic study were to identify the essence of the experience of contentment, to contribute to knowledge about humanbecoming, and to contribute to the knowledge base of nursing. The source of data collection was the text of Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey through Autism . Through a hermeneutic process of discoursing with penetrating engagement, interpreting with quiescent beholding, and understanding with inspiring envisaging the structure of the lived experience of contentment was illuminated in the text. The finding is that contentment is enduring serenity unfolding with inspiring unburdening as cherished convictions arise amid disharmony . This finding is comprised of three core concepts: enduring serenity, cherished convictions, and inspiring unburdening . This answers the research question: What is the structure of the lived experience of contentment as described in the text of Songs of the Gorilla Nation: Living with Autism . The findings are discussed in relation to how they enhance understanding of contentment and humanbecoming and how they can inform practice and future research.