Parents Pursuing a Doctorate of Education: A Mixed Methods Examination of How Parents Manage the Roles of Student and Parent

Amy J Catalano, Susan T Radin
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 16  •  2021  •  pp. 253-272

Doctoral students who are parents are increasingly more common, particularly in female-dominated disciplines, such as education. This study aims to examine the experiences of parents pursuing an education doctorate

This study examines the experiences of doctoral students who are parents and their perceptions of support in order to determine how programs and faculty can better serve students.

This mixed methods study examines the experiences of 52 doctoral students who were parents or became parents during their doctoral program. Methods includes surveys and interviews.

Very little published literature focuses on the experiences of both mothers and fathers who are doctoral students. This study is unique in that education doctoral students are generally established professionals with families and career success.

Among participants, 37% were women who became pregnant during the program. While most parents persisted in the program to graduate with a doctorate, several participants, including fathers, discussed their decisions to leave the doctoral program due to family responsibilities.

In order to uphold standards for a high-quality doctoral education, while also supporting student-parents, recommendations are presented for both doctoral programs and students.

Further research is needed on LGBTQ families and single-parent families of lower incomes.

Differences between workloads and barriers to advancement still persist for mothers in comparison to fathers.

Future research should examine the experiences of fathers more fully.

doctoral studies, Ed. D, parents, motherhood, academia
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