The influence of family on adult women in developmental education
Caudill, Jamie L.
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Women decide to go to college for many reasons and the support of their families can be crucial to their success. Returning to college for women with families, especially those with children and spouses or partners, can be a delicate balance between the “greedy” institutions of school and family. The three studies that comprise this document look at the different ways in which the family impacts women enrolled in college developmental education classes. The first study is a critical literature review article that looks at the impact that role conflicts have on the well being and success of women in college as well as the importance of the balance of power and load in the lives of these women. The second study focuses on how children in the home impact a woman’s educational journey. An interview-based study was completed with twenty-two female students at a mid-sized urban college in the southeast. The analysis of the interview data revealed six strong themes that connected these women. These themes reveal both positive, including encouragement and praise, and negative ways, including new behaviors problems and childcare issues, that children in the home impact a woman’s education and her decision to stay enrolled in college. Finally, study three was a survey-based study completed with 230 women enrolled in developmental education classes at the same southeastern college. These women were asked questions to determine the amount of spousal or partner support or sabotage actions are present in their lives and how these actions affect their educational journey. Analysis of the data from the completed 53-item survey revealed four distinct types of relationships present in the lives of these women, ranging from the Optimal relationship experience to the Toxic relationship experience with almost half (42%) of the participants falling in the Troublesome relationship experience. When taken together, these three studies show the challenges that women with families face when they return to college to pursue their college degrees.