Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

First Advisor

Dr. Robert J. Drummond

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Third Advisor

Dr. Betty G. Gilkison


This study was designed to compare midlife male graduate students with midlife female, early adulthood male, and early adulthood female graduate students in terms of their motivations for returning to higher education and their academic self-concept as returning students. Data were gathered, using Boshiers's Education Participation Scale (1995) and Drummond's Academic Self-Concept Scale (1984), from graduate students at a comprehensive, urban, southeastern, public university of approximately 10,000 students. The 426 graduate student participants were enrolled in three colleges (Business, Education, and Health) at the university.

Multivariate analysis of variance (MAN"OVA), univariate analysis of variance, and multiple comparison tests results indicate significant motivational and academic selfconcept differences. Midlife males' mean scores were significantly lower in the motivation category of Professional Advancement than the other three age/gender groups. Midlife males' and females' academic self-concept mean scores were significantly higher than early adulthood females in the category of Extraversion, and higher than early adulthood males in the category of Academic Skills.

These findings may be useful in educational recruitment and curriculum programming. Implications for practice and recommendations for research are provided.

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