Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


A Qualitative Study of the Life Satisfaction of Single Divorced Women in Leadership

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Mark Earley, PhD

Second Advisor

Joyce Litten, EdD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Priscilla Coleman, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Terry Herman, EdD (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Ardenia Jones Terry, PhD (Committee Member)


The purpose of this qualitative research life history study was to understand experiences and contributions to life satisfaction for single divorced women in leadership. Understanding the meaning one ascribes to life experiences assists leaders, employers and others to identify and target appropriate motivations. Five single, divorced African American women, ages of 40 to 55, working in leadership positions were interviewed as to how she assessed her overall life satisfaction; what she attributed to her life satisfaction; the factors that were most necessary or influential, i.e., extended family and friends, children, education, purpose, spirituality, and socioeconomic status, etc.; and, the extent, if any, other perceptions weighed on her life satisfaction. The research found of the divorced African American female leaders interviewed that life satisfaction or the lack thereof was highly related to locus of control and whether she believed she was living with purpose. Second, consistent factors attributed to the divorced female leaders life satisfaction which included education, family (parent or children) and friend support and purpose. Further, companionship and spirituality also emerged as being strongly influential or important to life satisfaction view as well. Last, in regards to others' perceptions on the divorced female leaders studied it was found not to be impactful on life satisfaction. Essentially, the study found that divorced African American female leaders who believed she was living her purpose were more satisfied while those not living on purpose either fully or at all were more dissatisfied with their lives. This research provides leaders and others valuable information to utilize while working with others as how leaders think, behave or feel is critical to the success and growth of the leaders themselves, the individuals they influence as well the organizations they lead. As one's satisfaction with life ultimately affects every aspect of one's life−attitude, behavior, choices, relationships and interactions− it is imperative for leaders to have an awareness of her psychological well-being in order to be more productive; produce better quality work and relationships; and, to and make the most of working with individuals to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization.