NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED545429
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 121
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-4886-3
The Experiences and Development of Undergraduate Adult Black Women
Clark, Joni Denise Dent
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Just as there are reasons why Black American women decide not to attend college or to dropout of college when they are young, there are reasons why they choose to enter or reenter college as adults. Among those reasons are self-fulfillment, career aspirations, financial incentives offered by employers, and military benefits (Parr, 2000; Richardson & King, 1998). The purpose of this study is to highlight how the crossroad of academic achievement intersects with the overall life experiences and identity development of adult, Black American, undergraduate women. There are three areas of identity theory that provided the framework of this study: identity development, racial identity development, and women's identity development. In addition to these aspects of identity development, this study also utilized the growing body of literature on womanist identity. A womanist concept of identity development finds its saliency in the definition of womanist developed by Alice Walker (1984). Womanist identity development explains the process by which Black women come to be identified as womanist utilizing Walker's (1984) definition as its foundation. This study used qualitative research techniques as described by Denzin and Lincoln (2003) and contributes to the body of existing literature by explaining the phenomenon of identity development among adult, undergraduate Black women. Since this study uses only Black female participants, the data will give researchers the opportunity to determine whether or not existing identity theories can be generalized to cover the identity development of Black women. The criteria for participant selection was as follows: (1) twenty-five years of age or older, (2) currently enrolled in an undergraduate program (taking no less than 6 credit hours per semester), (3) female, and (4) self-identified as Black or African American. Data analysis revealed connections between the participants and Walker's (1984) definition of womanist behavior. The conclusion is that Black female students, depending on their overall level of identity development may indeed exhibit the traits of womanist ideals. The presence of those beliefs is based on each woman's depth of general, racial, and gender development. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Adult Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A