Women over thirty choosing education as a solution to a problem
MacLean, Marilyn T.
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This study explored motivations of mid-life women over 30 years old who had returned to school. It sought to fmd whether these women returned to solve a problem arising from life events, whether viewing a problem was related to internal or external motivation, whether this perception was related to having greater coping skills, and whether having greater coping was related to seeking support from internal or external sources. This study examined which emotions were most related to viewing a life event as a problem. Finally, it explored the results of previous research of mid-life women in their role as a student. Women (N==83) from three types of institutions volunteered for this study: a university (N==34), a college (N==28), and an adult education centre (N==21). Participants took home a questionnaire package - a I3-page questionnaire and consent form - that were completed and mailed back to the researcher in pre-paid envelopes. Results showed that women over 30 seek education as a solution to a life event problem. External motivation was related to a life event being a problem (p<.005). There was a significant difference in coping scores between institutions. Moods that were related to viewing a life event as problematic were: anger and depressive moods (p<. 001), fatigue and vigor (p<.O 1), and tension/anxiety (p<.05). Mid-life women students' satisfaction in this role was related to being externally motivated. These women sought support from both internal and external sources, rarely had social interactions with peers, and viewed this role as important, yet, temporary in that it will help them change their lives. Implications ofthe results suggest further exploration ofthe roles of anger and depression in motivating women over 30 to learn and finding ways of directing women to use their emotional intelligence to seek out learning.