Title

A Study of Motherhood and Perceived Career Satisfaction of Women in Student Affairs

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Dafina-Lazarus Stewart, PhD (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Vikki Krane, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Maureen Wilson, PhD (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Robert DeBard, PhD (Committee Member)

Abstract

There is limited research available on the relationship between motherhood and career satisfaction. This dissertation examined women who worked as student affairs professionals to develop a greater understanding of the relationship between motherhood and career satisfaction.

The following research questions were addressed: Is there a difference between the levels of career satisfaction for women who work full-time in student affairs based on the independent variables? To what degree are the independent variables predictive of career satisfaction for women working in student affairs? What combination of the independent variables will produce the best predictive model of career satisfaction for women working in student affairs? Is there a statistically significant difference in levels of career satisfaction between mothers and non-mothers who work in student affairs? Is there a statistically significant difference in levels of career satisfaction of mothers who work in student affairs based on the independent variables?

Feminist standpoint theoretical framework was utilized and women who were members of ACPA – College Student Educators International were surveyed. Chi-square tests of independence was used to determine differences between groups and ordinal regression was utilized to model the relationship between levels of career satisfaction and independent variables. Findings showed that women were very satisfied or satisfied with four of the career satisfaction areas: career success, meeting overall career goals, professional development goals, and the development of new professional skills, but not for progress toward meeting goals for income. There were statistically significant relationships between the five areas of career satisfaction and degree attainment and motherhood status. Suggestions for future research and implications for practice are discussed.