ERIC Number: ED213986
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Midlife Women in Continuing Education: A Comparative Study.
Developmental theorists have suggested recently that at midlife women often want to reduce responsibilities to family and concentrate on self-development and growth, which earlier in their lives would have seemed to them selfish and therefore not acceptable. The aim of this comparative study was to determine if women returning to school at midlife differ from their nonstudent peers in ways which would provide some insight into the developmental changes women may go through in that period of their lives. One hundred-six women, aged 50 to 73, half of whom were university students, the others being primarily home-oriented nonstudents, responded to questions about health, happiness, self-concept, and aging. The results of the study show that those who have found a channel for the development of self, in this case through university studies, feel healthier both mentally and physically. On the other hand, those whose focus continues to be on family at midlife (a time when family members may be emotionally if not physically absent) are more distressed--have trouble sleeping, feel a lack of energy, and experience more physical ailments. Obviously, conclusions about the causes of the differences cannot be made from this study since it is neither experimental nor longitudinal. Yet, the findings do concur with what developmental theorists have described for women at midlife. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 19-23, 1982).