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ERIC Number: EJ950741
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0361-6843
Wives of College and University Presidents: Identity, Privacy, and Relationships
Reid, Pamela Trotman; Cole, Ellen; Kern, Margaret L.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, v35 n4 p547-557 Dec 2011
How does a modern woman react to being defined by the role of wife? In our study, the authors examined the experiences, benefits, and challenges encountered by wives of college and university presidents. In a relationship where the husband has a prestigious and well-defined role, the female partner may still be expected to play a traditional role on a regular basis, bringing both benefits and challenges. Through focus groups, interviews, and a survey, women shared their experiences. Cluster analytic techniques identified six groups of women that were involved in, adjusted to, or conflicted by serving in the presidential spouse role. The authors employ the voices of the women themselves to illuminate their experiences, satisfactions, challenges, and frustrations. Wives indicated that they had to deal with loss of privacy, conflicted personal relationships, and increased ambiguity about their own identity. Interestingly, wives did not allow these challenges to undermine their marriage; instead, for those who had difficulty meeting these demands, the loss was to their own sense of self-worth. The results suggest that the role of presidential wife should be examined through the intersectional lens of gender and class. This intersection can be seen to shape the expectations of the wife herself, as well as the demands made by her spouse and others in her community. Her previous experiences, education, and career preparation provide insights into how she approaches the public role. Recognizing and giving voice to the complex sociocultural issues involved may help wives thrive in their roles as a college or university president's wife. "Additional online materials for this article are available to PWQ subscribers on PWQ's website at" (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A