Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth B. Engle

Second Advisor

Dr. Thelma Urbick

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of sex-role attitudes on levels on self-actualization and satisfaction with life among a group of randomly selected women. This study also explored the relationships between occupational primacy as defined through paid employment and homemaker on overall life satisfaction, and employment commensurate with education/training and its relationship to self-actualization. This relationship between overall life satisfaction and measures of self-actualization was also investigated.

Data was collected from 264 women of which 236 responses were included for final hypotheses testing. All subjects were women 18 years and older who lived within the City of Kalamazoo at the time of the survey. Subjects were selected through the use of random sampling procedures based on the total number of dwelling units in the City of Kalamazoo census tract areas during 1978 (N = 27,611). All subjects were administered: (1) the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (25 item version), (2) Personal Orientation Inventory, (3) Satisfaction with Life Scale composed of 22 variables gathered from quality of life studies, studies on the well-being of adult women and various measures and studies of self-reported well-being. Also included was a questionnaire which assessed demographic characteristics of the population under study.

It was hypothesized that women who are liberal in their sex-role orientations would score higher on measures of self-actualization than women who are conservative and that they would also be more satisfied with their overall life. In addition to this, it was hypothesized that greater overall life satisfaction would be obtained by women who chose paid employment as their primary occupational commitment rather than homemaker and that for those women in paid employment greater levels of self-actualization would be obtained if their employment was commensurate with their education/training. The final hypothesis predicted that women who are more satisfied with their overall life would also be more self-actualized than women who are less satisfied. Analyses were conducted to determine the best predictor of overall life satisfaction from the 21 independent variables on the Satisfaction with Life Scale.

Findings reveal significant differences on measures of self-actualization for 11 of the 12 scales of the Personal Orientation Inventory for the two groups of women. However, no significant differences were found in self-reported overall life satisfaction between liberal and conservative women, nor were significant differences found in self-reported overall life satisfaction for women in paid employment as compared to homemakers. Contrary to prediction, findings reveal significance at the p < .05 level on the Acceptance of Aggression scale of the Personal Orientation Inventory for that group of women who do not hold jobs for which their education/training prepared them. All other scales proved to be not significant. Results of the final hypothesis reveal that women who are more satisfied with their overall life are also more self-actualized on eight of the twelve scales of the Personal Orientation Inventory than women who reported less overall life satisfaction. Of the total 21 independent variables on the Satisfaction with Life Scale, satisfaction with the amount and depth of involvement in one's social environment accounted for over 50% of the variance in predicting overall life satisfaction.

Discussion focused on the influence of the socialization process for women and the effects of intervening variables such as situational demands and the influence of significant others on making life choices. Recommendations were directed toward constructing hypotheses which identify the multi-determining life experiences of women, rather than asking global questions.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access