Center for Women's Health and Wellness

School of Health and Human Sciences



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:

  1. Why they came to WC
  2. The significant events and health issues in their lives
  3. The factors they believed contributed to good quality of life and health
  4. Their recommendations for the survey

Six Focus Groups

  • 20 women
  • 5 held at Alumni House
  • 1 held at Greensboro Retirement Community
Who Participated
  • 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

Survey Methods:

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:

  1. Their experiences at WC
  2. Volunteer service
  3. Employment/paid work
  4. Spouse/partner
  5. Children
  6. Family
  7. Friends, neighbors, and community
  8. Thoughts about their life
  9. Physical activity
  10. Leisure activity
  11. Health
  12. Past and current living situation

WC Study