Title page for ETD etd-32298-23539

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Soukup, Karla S. Jr.
Author's Email Address soukup@vt.edu
URN etd-32298-23539
Title Choice, Chance, or Circumstance: A Qualitative Study of Never-Married and Once-Married Women's Marriage Beliefs in Midlife
Degree Master of Science
Department Family and Child Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Allen, Katherine R. Committee Chair
Blieszner, Rosemary Committee Member
Sporakowski, Michael J. Committee Member
  • single women
  • marriage beliefs
  • midlife
  • life course
  • feminist perspective
Date of Defense 1998-04-15
Availability restricted
Although previous research on singlehood has often focused on middlfe-class career women, little is known about the life experiences of non-career path single women. This study examined the core marriage beliefs of never-married and once-married child-free, midlife women and the ways in which those beliefs have evolved over time. The sample consisted of 10 women, 5 never-married and 5 once-married between the ages of 35 and 48. For the purposes of this inquiry, non-career path was codetermined on the basis of occupation and educational background.

The theoretical framework that guided this study combined a life course approach with a feminist perspective. Respondents were recruited through extensive networking and the sampling technique of snowballing. A qualitative methodology was employed utilizing the research strategy of in-depth interviewing. Data were analyzed on the basis of emergent themes and patterns.

This study produced 3 salient findings. First, the process of forming core marriage beliefs is similar between never- married and once-married women. Although an experience of marrying (or an experience of not marrying) may change the way a woman views herself within the context of her marital beliefs, those core marital beliefs do not necessarily change. Second, whether never-married or once-married, single midlife women live ambivalent lives: acknowledging their singlehood status while simultaneously remaining hopeful of attaining a marital union. Finally, women made a clear distinction between getting married and marrying successfully. While most believed that getting married was a choice, having a successful marriage was a result of chance. Despite this appraisal, the ideal of marriage remained pervasive regardless of age or past experience.

  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
[VT] APPENDICES.PDF 39.67 Kb 00:00:11 00:00:05 00:00:04 00:00:02 < 00:00:01
[VT] CHAPTER1.PDF 16.13 Kb 00:00:04 00:00:02 00:00:02 00:00:01 < 00:00:01
[VT] CHAPTER2.PDF 31.86 Kb 00:00:08 00:00:04 00:00:03 00:00:01 < 00:00:01
[VT] CHAPTER3.PDF 30.45 Kb 00:00:08 00:00:04 00:00:03 00:00:01 < 00:00:01
[VT] CHAPTER4.PDF 83.17 Kb 00:00:23 00:00:11 00:00:10 00:00:05 < 00:00:01
[VT] CHAPTER5.PDF 28.74 Kb 00:00:07 00:00:04 00:00:03 00:00:01 < 00:00:01
[VT] INTRO2.PDF 15.41 Kb 00:00:04 00:00:02 00:00:01 < 00:00:01 < 00:00:01
[VT] REFS.PDF 22.58 Kb 00:00:06 00:00:03 00:00:02 00:00:01 < 00:00:01
[VT] indicates that a file or directory is accessible from the Virginia Tech campus network only.

Browse All Available ETDs by ( Author | Department )

dla home
etds imagebase journals news ereserve special collections
virgnia tech home contact dla university libraries

If you have questions or technical problems, please Contact DLA.