A Study of Graduate Student Parents’ Perceptions: Barriers and Resources
Theisen, Megan Rae
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The present study explored the perceptions of students who were both parenting and pursuing a master's or doctoral degree. Specifically, this study examined students' perceptions regarding the usefulness of resources that were currently and could potentially be provided to facilitate successful degree completion. Differences between mothers and fathers were examined as well as differences between master's and doctoral students. Previous literature indicated that women and men experience graduate school differently and that the genders are not represented proportionally as master's and doctoral graduates. Therefore, this study sought to explore differences in the perceptions of resources offered on campus, resources offered in the community, and potential resources. A feminist framework was used to guide all aspects of this study. The results of this study indicated that graduate student parents placed greater value on financial resources and resources related to childcare as well as having a supportive faculty advisor. Independent sample t-tests indicate there were gender differences in perceptions: specifically, women placed greater value on many of the resources studied. In addition, independent sample t-tests did not signify differences between master's and doctoral students' perceptions. These results suggest that there are many specific resources that university could offer graduate student parents in order to support them in completing their degree.