Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to identify what factors prompt adult women to return to community college. Adult developmental theory provided a framework for the study. Aslanian and Brickell's (1980) theory that life transitions prompt a learning response was integrated with Gilligan's (1982) theory that women identify themselves in the context of relationships. Information was gathered to determine whether life changes and the desire for a revised identity are the major reasons adult women return to school.;The population of this study was a randomly selected sample of 186 women who had returned to Paul D. Camp Community College during the academic year, 1985-86. The participants had to be 25 years old or older, enrolled in a credit course of study, and returning to college after at least a two year lapse in their formal educational experience. Those women selected to participate in the study responded to a survey asking them to describe their current life situation and reasons for their return to school. Personal interviews were conducted with a select portion of the survey respondents.;Frequencies and percentages were calculated to identify common and distinctive patterns in the reasons adult women return to college. The results support the hypothesis that life changes and the desire for a revised identity prompt women in general to return to education. However, notable differences were identified among women according to their age, race, marital and employment status.;Further study on the development of women is needed. More information regarding the special needs of returning women students in general is warranted. In addition, research on selected categories of returning women students (e.g., minority group women, women who are no longer married) is also needed.



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