The impact of selected experiences on women during mid-life transition : a retrospective study Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2r36v102s

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  • The purpose of this study was to examine the mid-life period of women's lives. It attempted to determine if this time is generally one of crisis, or more commonly a period of smooth transition. Furthermore, it attempted to determine if there is a typical pattern of emotional concerns experienced by women during mid-life. The sample comprised sixty five women between the ages of fifty five and sixty years of age. They were drawn from a population of one hundred who were enrolled in classes at Truckee Meadows Community College, in Reno, Nevada, during spring, 1983. One hundred questionnaires were mailed out, and the sample consisted of sixty five respondents. Retrospective data were gathered using a questionnaire developed by the researcher for purposes of this study. The questionnaire consisted of a series of 27 items, each with five parts, asking for the respondents' recollections of pre-selected emotional concerns during the mid-life period. Each person was asked to indicate the presence of concerns, their strength, and the age level at which they reached their peak intensity. The choice of items was based on a review of relevant literature, and the items were submitted to a jury panel for validation. The items were compiled into five major categories: Mortality, Marriage & Sex, Health, Children & Parent, Life's Expectations & Satisfactions. The findings of the study support the view that for most women, mid-life is a time of gradual transition, rather than an abrupt crisis. Nearly half the women reported that they had not experienced any concern in one or more of the categories of concern during the mid-life years. The overall trend showed little change or a slight reduction in intensity of concern with increasing age. Other patterns which occurred were a decrease in the proportion of respondents experiencing concern in the category of Children & Parent with increased age. An increase in the proportion experiencing concern in the two categories of Mortality and Health with increasing age was also present. Assumptions made in the study were that those responding would accurately remember back to age thirty, and that they would report these recollections honestly. An apparent limitation of the questionnaire occurred. A comparison of the responses of subjects on interviews following the same protocol as the questionnaire revealed some discrepancies between interview and questionnaire responses. This raises questions as to the validity of the questionnaire data, particularly of those respondents indicating no concerns. Recommendations were made for the use of the data and questionnaire, particularly for counselors working with women during their mid-life transition. It was also recommended that the study be replicated using different populations, and involving the use of interviews to augment the questionnaire. A further suggestion was for the use of more longitudinal research methods to study women's patterns of normal psycho-social development and aging.
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