Almuhajiri, Merfat (2020, July 24). A Q-methodological study of self-perceptions of Saudi mothers pursuing university degrees in the United States. Doctoral dissertation (Evaluation and Measurement, Education), Kent State University, Kent, OH.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare the self-perceptions of Saudi international student mothers while living in the United States with their self-perceptions while living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to explore any changes that may have occurred. A set of n=21 Saudi mothers enrolled at three Northeast Ohio universities were administered a Q sort comprised of 60 items representing the Big Five personality variables (Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) and instructed to describe themselves according to two conditions: (a) What I am like now in the U.S., and (b) what was I like in Saudi Arabia. Factor analysis of the 42 Q sorts revealed four self-perceptions that appeared in both national settings: (1) The Dependable Mother characterized herself as responsible and demanding, but also as harboring self-doubts; (2) the Confident Mother was relatively autonomous, self-confident, and stress-free; (3) the Withdrawn Mother was insecure, often depressed, conflict-avoidant, and timid; and (4) the Sociable Mother was outgoing, imaginative, and interpersonally warm. Approximately half of the participants displayed stability in their current and past self-descriptions, whereas the other half demonstrated significant alterations, mainly in a positive direction (i.e., enhanced self-esteem and confidence), but with three showing reductions in self-esteem. Variance analysis of the factor scores of the Big Five statements revealed few remarkable differences within the four factors. Discussion focused on similarities and differences between the study findings and previous research, on policy implications, and on future studies, with particular emphasis on the intensive examination of single cases.

Merfat Almuhajiri <malmuhji@kent.edu> has been on leave since 2009 from Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia to study English and pursue graduate studies. Her co-authored paper won the ISSSS Brenner Award and appeared in Operant Subjectivity (2013).

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