An exploratory study on the self-concept and the spiritual well-being of commercial sex workers

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education major in Guidance and Counseling

Subject Categories



Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Counseling and Educational Psychology

Thesis Adviser

Maria Teresa Ojano-Batangan

Defense Panel Chair

Carmelita P. Pabiton

Defense Panel Member

Barbara Wong-Fernandez
Natividad A. Dayan


This study sought to explore the “inner world” of the Strip Dancers and Guest Relations Officers (GROs) currently involved as commercial sex workers (CSWs), and what specifically triggered them into commercial sex work, their self-concept and their spiritual well-being. Using the kuwentong buhay, an in-depth interview which is feminine friendly, eleven ladies aged 18 to 24 years were interviewed, five of whom were strip dancers and the other six, GROs. The main finding was that the women entered the CSW in order to free themselves and their families from poverty. The distant reasons for entry included abuses meted on them as children, minimum educational background, broken homes and broken marriages, homes of constant conflicts, and other environmental reasons. They entered at the invitations of their friends and relatives who assured them that the CSW is an easy work. All those who entered as GROs were using it as a stepping stone to go abroad. The female participants’ self-concept were very negative: one that had been irreparably damaged and still being damaged, stained and degraded by their experiences of abuse and prostitution, and therefore deserved no honor, love, or happiness. What kept them in the work was survival, fat financial incentives, and the hope they held of supporting their families, going abroad, waiting for their “soul mates” that would take them away from poverty and bring them dignity, respect, and real love and happiness. Having negative self-concept has adversely affected their spiritual well-being. Though they carry religious images, other religious items, and still rely on God to prevent them from harm, they expressed that their work has actually affected their relationships with God, neighbor, and environment. They are unhappy with what they do which is contrary to their inner voice of morality and their religion and also contrary to the expectations of their society and culture. Considering the needs of the participants, an intervention program was drawn to help enhance the self-concept of GROs and Strip Dancers who leave the work; by so doing their spiritual well-being may also be strengthened and help them perceive a more meaningful and decent life as they merge into a more transformed and less hostile society.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F, Henry Sy Sr. Hall


Sex workers—Psychology; Self-perception; ex workers—Spiritual life

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