Psychological needs and coping ability of women in a training program at a center for displaced homemakers



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Increasingly large numbers of widowed and divorced women in the middle years are forced to make transitions from roles as homemakers to independently functioning single individuals (Bureau of Census, 1977). Recognizing the need to help such individuals through the difficult readjustment period (Conroy, 1977; Hackney, 1975; Hayes, 1976) and to assist them in becoming productive and self-sufficient members of society (Putney, 1976; Welch & Granvold, 1977), more than half the states have funded Centers for Displaced Homemakers, with goals of increasing job readiness and providing information for new life adjustments. This study investigated change in women’s psychological needs, influencing independent functioning, after participation in a training program at a Center for Displaced Homemakers. More specifically, change in 1) need for autonomy, 2) need for abasement, 3) need for deference, and 4) need for succorance was researched. In addition, change in knowledge of information contributing to a more independent life style was studied. Included were areas of job readiness, career decision-making, and personal finances. It was hypothesized that women having participated in a training program at a Center for Displaced Homemakers would express a greater need for autonomy (AUT), a lesser need for abasement (ABAS), deference (DEF), and succorance (SUC), and increased knowledge of information for independent functioning (INFO) than women who did not participate in the program. The treatment group consisted of 17 women who participated in the training program at the Center for Displaced Homemakers. The control group was made up of 17 women who had expressed an interest in the program but who had not yet participated. Women in both groups were former married homemakers between the ages of 35 and 64, needing help in securing employment. Prior to participation in the program, subjects in the treatment group were administered the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule, measuring change in four personality variables (AUT, ABAS, DEF, and SUC) and the Information for Independent Functioning Test (IFIF), measuring change in knowledge of information contributing to effective independent functioning. Treatment consisted of four weeks of training in personal assessment, management of personal finances, job readiness, and self-care in the area of health. Participants were retested with the EPPS and IFIF at the end of the program. The control group was administered both instruments twice with a time interval between testing equivalent to that of the length of the training program. A quasi-experimental (Campbell & Stanley, 1963) pretestposttest design was used with treatment and control groups. An analysis of covariance compared the means of the posttest scores for each of the five dependent variables (AUT, ABAS, DEF, SUC, and INFO). An F test was applied to test for statistical significance at the .05 level. There was no statistical significance in the posttest scores between the treatment and control groups in any of the variables of AUT, ABAS, DEF, SUC, and INFO. There was a trend in increased INFO for the treatment group. The hypothesis was not supported. Possible explanations for results were postulated in the following: 1) Outcome immediately after treatment may not have reflected longer term effects resulting from an interaction of treatment and time. 2) The instruments used in this study may not have been sensitive enough to indicate change after short-term treatment. 3) Positive outcomes of similar studies in the past may have been a result of inadequate research methodology leading to spurious optimistic conclusions. Recommendations for future research included the use of both ongoing and outcome assessment of programs utilizing a multi-dimensional approach to assessment techniques.



Employment re-entry, Women