The Perceptions of African American Women Concerning the Intangible Cost(s) and/or Benefit(s) of a Post-Baccalaureate Education and Career Choices

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Dorothy Ettling


Norman St. Clair


Sarah Williams


This qualitative study explored the perceptions of 10 African American women concerning their thoughts and beliefs about the intangible cost(s) and/or benefit(s) of a post-baccalaureate education and/or professional career choices. The narratives told by the participants, revealed nothing new when it came to childhood dreams. It is not uncommon for children to dream of what they want to do when they grow up. The study participants followed the path laid out or suggested by their parents who supported and encouraged them toward successful pursuits in whatever they chose. The parents of the participants in this study are no exception, and the results do not deviate from this belief. By setting high academic standards and making greater demands of them at an early age, the results were academic and economic achievement. Two findings stood out in this research: first, how parental and especially a mother's expectation or socialization could affect the outcome of their daughters' lives, and that the participant(s) would without exception follow their mother's direction; and second, what the researcher considered as a "cost" for achievements and success, the participants thought of as a "sacrifice".

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