Gender differences in the attrition process of non-traditional college students: A case study of a private four-year university in Puerto Rico

Elizabeth Scalley, Fordham University

Abstract

The high attrition of nontraditional college students, a group that is composed mainly of women, has been hardly researched using theoretical models. Although it has been frequently recognized that women do leave studies for reasons different to those of men, the few studies done provide no theoretical explanations for gender differences and do not provide consistent evidence on the role of environmental variables (variables external to the college), which are critical to the adult student attrition.^ Using a sample of nontraditional college students enrolled in an Adult Education program, and framed by Bean's and Metzner's 1985 model of nontraditional college attrition, the present study explored the relationships of gender, and background, environmental, academic, psychological, academic outcomes and intent to leave variables on dropout. Bean's and Metzner's model was refined in two main ways to better explore gender differences in dropout: considering gender as a variable set apart from background variables, and sensitizing environmental and stress variables to family role responsibilities.^ Analysis provided evidence for the importance of environmental variables, and evidenced gender differences--men were more likely than women to dropout. The utility of education for a future job and parental help in cleaning were significant gender interaction variables. Implications for further research suggest that further exploration of family structure might be relevant. ^

Subject Area

Educational sociology|Womens studies|Sociology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Scalley, Elizabeth, "Gender differences in the attrition process of non-traditional college students: A case study of a private four-year university in Puerto Rico" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9324627.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9324627

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