The study included two phases of data collection.
- Phase 1 involved conducting focus group interviews with a small number of alumnae who lived in Greensboro. The purpose of Phase 1 was to qualitatively explore the roles women played, their pathways through life, and their views about the factors that affected their health and quality of life; the results of Phase 1 focus groups informed the development of the survey in Phase 2.
- Phase 2 was a quantitative survey of a randomly selected sample of alumnae.
Focus Group Methods:
Focus groups are guided, semi-structured group interviews in which a moderator poses questions and encourages group discussion on a specific topic. The women were asked to discuss the following:
- Why they came to WC
- The significant events and health issues in their lives
- The factors they believed contributed to good quality of life and health
- Their recommendations for the survey
Six Focus Groups
- 20 women
- 5 held at Alumni House
- 1 held at Greensboro Retirement Community
- Age: 65 years of age – 102 years of age.
- Marital Status: 85% were or had been married; 15% never married
- At the time of the study, 45% were widowed & 5% were divorced
- Employment: Almost all were employed at some point; 80% retired
- Motherhood: 70% had children
- Average number among those who had children: 3
We then conducted a quantitative survey with a randomly selected sample of Woman’s College alumnae to investigate the relationship between the roles women played (e.g., worker, spouse/partner, mother, community volunteer) and their health and quality of life.
A preliminary draft of the questionnaire was pre-tested with 100 alumnae. Revisions resulted in a 44-page, 109 item self-administered questionnaire.
From a list of 8,969 WC graduates, a random sample of 1818 alumnae was selected. Of the 1818 alumnae, 77 were determined to be deceased, and 49 were returned undeliverable; hence 1693 women probably received the questionnaire. Of these, 1024 returned a completed questionnaire for a response rate of 56.33%.
Analyses of the data from the questionnaire were conducted using Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) software.
The questionnaire includes questions on the following:
- Their experiences at WC
- Volunteer service
- Employment/paid work
- Friends, neighbors, and community
- Thoughts about their life
- Physical activity
- Leisure activity
- Past and current living situation