The Impact and Salience of Low-Income Single Mothers’ Identities and Roles on Post-compulsory Education Persistence Decisions

By Rebecca McPherson.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 25, 2016 Free Download

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate six low-income single (LIS) mothers’ educational experiences. This study used the social role theory as a framework to describe the impact of children and family obligations on the decision to persist in post-compulsory education. The study found that anticipated degree utility, subsequent to LIS mothers’ identities as sole providers, had the strongest influence on career commitment decisions and persistence toward degree completion. This finding was directly related to children and contrasts with previous research indicating that non-traditional students with financial hardships and low academic performance typically stop or drop out. These results distinguish the uniqueness of LIS mothers’ experiences as an important element in evaluating the direct and indirect influencers on their career commitment and decisions to persist in post-compulsory education. Because LIS mothers are a disadvantaged subset of the labor market whose educational declines are growing, the importance of this topic will only increase with the strides to increase completion rates for such disadvantaged groups in the labor market.

Keywords: Identity, Low-Income Single Mothers, Persistence, Social Justice

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 23, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 25, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 366.103KB)).

Dr. Rebecca McPherson

Assistant Professor, College of Business Administration, Texas A&M University-Central Texas, Belton, Texas, USA