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ERIC Number: EJ891114
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0965-948X
Exploring the Processes of Self-Development Encountered by Adult Returners to Higher Education: A Lifespan Psychology Perspective
Mercer, Jenny
Psychology Teaching Review, v16 n1 p24-36 2010
Evidence indicates that non-traditional adult returners describe returning to education as a period of self-development and growth. However, lifespan psychology perspectives also show that successful growth and change involves periods of conflict. This paper will explore both the nature of self-development and conflicts experienced by a sample of first generation adult returners from an area of high deprivation. Twenty participants were interviewed at different stages of their higher education courses. A grounded theory approach identified conflicts between "fear of failure and academic success", "the home and University environment" and the "juggling of multiple roles". Educational experiences also seemed to mediate self-development, labeled "re-negotiating the self". Lifespan perspectives (e.g. Hendry & Kloep's 2002 developmental change model) are utilized to illustrate how these seemingly positive and negative aspects interact. Such an approach can enhance our understanding of the issues such students face, together with the strategies used to overcome them in order to facilitate self-growth and development.
British Psychological Society, Division for Teachers & Researchers in Psychology. St Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester, LE1 7DR, UK. Tel: +44-1162-529551; Fax: +44-1162-271314; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A