This paper reviews literature on non-traditional students, role dissonance, and the unique challenges faced by individuals who must balance the role of postsecondary student with a multiplicity of other roles. From the foundation of Erikson’s (1959/1980) identity development theory; Gilligan’s (1982/1993) theory of moral development; and other research on role identities, the author proposes a theoretical framework for examining role dissonance and its effect on the postsecondary educational experiences and persistence of female non-traditional students. A developmental task central to the academic and personal success of the female non-traditional student is her progression from a belief that she must sacrifice herself to be considered a good person to the realization that caring for herself, in the same way she cares for others, is the higher good. Student development occurs during the process of re-evaluating and negotiating roles and the evolution of an internally grounded, rather than externally-based, identity. Concluding the paper are recommendations for practice and future research.
Marsman, Jane E.
"Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Role Dissonance in Female Non-Traditional Students,"
College Student Affairs Leadership: Vol. 1
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/csal/vol1/iss1/4