Title

Expanding the self : motherhood and identity development in faculty women

Publication Date

9-2014

Abstract

Research on women’s identity development has indicated that women generally form and view their identities within the context of their relationships and connections to others. Previous research has looked at various aspects of motherhood identity including paradoxical, conflictual, and ambivalent components of motherhood. The current study contributes by exploring 30 university faculty women’s personal experiences of motherhood through a grounded theory framework to determine the contributions of motherhood to adult identity development. Mothering expanded the women’s selves and identities multivariously, by developing new personal qualities, by increasing relational capacity and concern for others, by creating a sense of lasting influence by contributing to younger generations, and by enhancing their engagement with their careers. In this way, motherhood was personally, relationally, generationally, and vocationally expansive. Implications for clinical work and research are included.

Keywords

Motherhood; Women--Identity;

Publication Title

Journal of Family Issues

Volume

35

Issue

9

First Page

1227

Last Page

1251

DOI of Published Version

10.1177/0192513X13479573

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