• Nontraditional-age women graduates from a distance program: contributors to choosing psychology as a major

      Fischer, Jackie
      The purpose of this qualitative research study was to identify the contributing factors that led nontraditional-age female college students studying in a distance format to choose psychology as a major. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews, as well as short essays and demographic questionnaires completed by the participants. The results were examined within the context of Lent and Brown’s (2013) social cognitive career theory (SCCT). The application of SCCT led to the examination of how the women overcame real and perceived barriers to degree attainment. Data analysis using the lens of liberal feminist theory exposed some of the social constructs that existed as the p articipants pursued their bachelor’s degrees. The following primary themes were identified: (a) a sense of benevolence leads nontraditional-age female college students to choose psychology as a major, (b) family and community support is critical for degree attainment for nontraditional-age women who study in a distance format, (c)nontraditional-age women choose a distance program because of its practicality and flexibility, (d) specific skills and traits contribute to the success of nontraditional-age female college students, and (e) nontraditional-age women who completed their degrees in psychology in a distance program experience personal and professional transformation. Implications for theory, practice, and research are also presented.