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Compromises in the lives of working women in rural Nebraska communities

Amy L Chatelain, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of the proposed study was to explore the compromises that working women make in as a result of living in rural, Nebraska communities. The phenomenon of compromise is not new to the field of vocational development and, in fact, it has been found to be an integral part of the career development process (Gottfredson, 1981; Super, 1995). Despite its widespread acknowledgement in the field, the concept of compromise has never been applied to the population of rural women. Understanding the effects of rural factors on career development is important, as rural communities constitute 20% of the United States population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Research has suggested that, in comparison to non-rural areas, individuals from rural areas tend to be less educated, earn less income, and possess stronger traditional values (Conrad, 1997). One way rural women adjust to the idiosyncrasies of rural culture is by making compromises in order to continue living in and working in or near rural communities. This study explored this experience using a phenomenological, qualitative design. Eight women were interviewed for the study and the following themes were induced: (a) Limited Opportunities; (b) Higher Education Barriers; (c) Few Job Perks; (d) Focus on Relationships; (e) Religion Provides Guidance; (f) Motherhood Changes Perspective; (g) Time on the Road; (h) Change of Career Plans; and (i) Emotional Distress. These themes are important to the field of psychology, and in particular, counseling psychology as they depict the experiences of working rural women. Further implications for mental health professionals working with rural populations are also addressed. Limitations of the study, future directions, and the researcher’s reflections are also included.^

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Psychology, Counseling

Recommended Citation

Chatelain, Amy L, "Compromises in the lives of working women in rural Nebraska communities" (2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3412307.