Date of Award

Fall 2006

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Melchert, Timothy P.

Second Advisor

Campbell, Todd C.

Third Advisor

Bardwell, Rebecca


This idea of exploring the self-concept of married women was born of my experience of meeting some women who had a difficult time in their marriage or even unmarried women who were rather unhappy being women. A striking event was that some years ago, while I was conducting a seminar on Personality Development for women college students, I asked orally how many participants were really happy to be women. Out of 150 female college students, 112 of them raised their hands to indicate that they were not happy to be women. Among the rest, 18 students indicated that they were happy to be women, while 12 others mentioned that they would opt for an answer of "yes and no" and the remaining 8 said that they did not want to talk about it. Though it was shocking, I could not, for lack of time, explore why a huge chunk of the group openly acknowledged that they were not happy to be women. The puzzling thing is that even educated, employed, and financially self-sufficient women seem to be in a similar state. Propelled by a professional curiosity and concern to understand the self-concept of married women in South India, I undertook a qualitative research modeled on the grounded theory approach propounded by Strauss and Corbin (1990). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to understand the concept and beliefs married women have about themselves. As understanding the reality from an objective point of view may be different from what women believe and think about the reality they are in, my interest was in understanding their subjective point of view about themselves. As self-concept is an abstract concept, which can be understood only by understanding various categories that contribute to it, I explored the participants' descriptions, prescriptions and expectations along with other subcategories of self-concept, such as roles, attribution styles. coping styles, self-efficacy, spirituality and their values as they are clearly related to life choices and are said to be connected with interests, attitudes, and preferences (Anastasi & Urbina, 1997). The results present a relatively new model of self-concept in which culture appears to be the context in which various domains (core categories) of self-concept exist while various mechanisms that operate across those domains influence those domains and the general self-concept. The implications of this new model seem to be rich for both understanding self and to help others effectively in any helping relationship.



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