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Inside the Handbag. A Closer Look at the Needs and Concerns Carried by College Women. Presenters. Kara Cattani, Ph.D. LaNae Valentine, Ph.D. Melissa Jones, Ph.D. Anna Packard, Ph.D. Rebecca Johnson. Why the Study?. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Inside the HandbagA Closer Look at the Needs and Concerns Carried by College Women

PresentersKara Cattani, Ph.D.LaNae Valentine, Ph.D.Melissa Jones, Ph.D.Anna Packard, Ph.D.Rebecca JohnsonWhy the Study?To help Counseling & Psychological Services and Womens Services & Resources promote greater responsiveness to the needs of women on campusOutreachPrevention EducationProgrammingServices2006 study by BYU Assessment and Planning Office identifies areas of concerns within random sample of BYU studentsWe looked at top concerns rated by womenThis study was geared toward primary prevention.identifying concerns, problematic social norms, etc.Most of the literature looking at problems of college age women focus on clinical sample. This is unique b/c it was a nonclinical sample.3Purpose of StudyTo evaluate the emotional distress, physical health, relationships, and career needs of women on campusTo assess what services and resources BYU women are using and what services are lacking.

Participants51 women at BYU between the ages of 18-49 Mean age 23.06; Modal age 2033 Caucasian, 7 Latina, 1 African, 7 Polynesian, 4 multi-ethnic40 Single, 10 Married, 1 Divorced7 Sophomores, 15 Juniors, 22 Seniors, 7 Graduate StudentsRecruited by a booth in the student centerGiven $20 and pizza for their participationFocus GroupsFive 90 minute focus groupsResearchers were group leadersSelf-directed, leaders would prompt with questions on protocol sheet if neededi.e. What are your main concerns at this time in your life? What is it like to be a woman at BYU?Data AnalysisConsensual Qualitative Research (Hill, 2011)Participants identities were dummy-codedFocus groups transcribedCoded into DomainsReviewed each transcript to see what topic areas naturally arise from the interview data (inductive approach)Each person did individually, then reached consensusCoded each Domain into Core IdeasSummaries of the data that capture the essence of the participants statements in fewer wordsWorked together as a teamFour DomainsIdentity Emotional, Mental, & Physical HealthRelationshipsWomens Roles 8Domain 1: Identity Core Ideas:Women struggle with perfectionism.Women struggle with body image.Women struggle to identify with perceived social or cultural norms. IdentityCore Idea 1: Women struggle with perfectionism. Identity: PerfectionismPerfectionism on steroids here. More than in any college. You have an entire 23,000 student body of perfectionists. I have to be MORE perfect than you! Soyou put a lot more pressure on yourself, even though maybe not everyone expects you to put that kind of pressure, but its really hard, especially if you come in with the best grades, great scholarshipsits like, ok, so Im now a small fish in a really, really big pond.

Identity: Not Special Anymore I think its hard going from where youre the lead in the musical and youre all of these things, and then you come here and so what? I know its not special anymore. Youre just like everybody else.Identity: ComparisonsBut the culture seems to breed - are you doing your best? Are you really measuring up? Are you good enough? All those kind of thoughts. Whether it be body image or your intellect, or how you dress and look, your style, just anything about you and other people and seeing how successful other people are versus yourself.Identity: ComparisonsAll the women I talk to come here and feel like, wow, Im so bad, when others are looking at them saying, Im so bad compared with you. I feel like theres so many different outletsI got married and I felt so good about all these things Id registered for for my house, then I go visit teach somebodyand I was like oh my gosh. Were gonna go home and rethink my house now. It kind of doesnt really end.Identity: ComparisonsSo what if you have runny eggs and burnt toast? I think we get stuck in this comparing our weaknesses to other peoples strengths, and then its not even on the same level at all which is really terrible for us to do to ourselves, but we do it a lot. Identity Core Idea 2: Women struggle with body image. Identity: Body ImageI just look around campus and Im like, Gosh, everyone is like smaller and cuter and blonder than me [laughter]. But I do think a lot of girls feel this really heavy pressure to look a certain way, not necessarily be a certain physical type, but just to be like super pretty and everything has to be perfect, and if youre not that, then guys are like Whats wrong with that one? [laughter]. Identity: Health or Beauty?I think we cover it up a lot with Im concerned about being healthy. Thats all well and good, but I think our motivation is to get skinny, not to get healthy...I think sometimes, too, we can go the other way, where we stick a stigma on people that are trying to be healthier, because then its like Do you have a problem with your body? Because you should love yourself the way you are. Love your shape. Why are you doing that?IdentityCore Idea 3: Women struggle to identify with perceived social or cultural norms.

Identity: Cultural NormsPeople would talk slowly cuz they thought I couldn't speak English...Its really hard being on such a white campus, especially when it comes to dating, because youre totally overlooked a lot of the time.

Identity: StereotypesI am married, and I feel like at BYU there is a certain married person leprosy. . .BYU encourages you to get married but once you are married it is like you cant do this, you cant do that so you feel like an outcast.

Identity: StereotypesPeople want you to go out and get your education but deep down inside they are like get your education but someday you are just going to stay home...Its not very outward that they say that but in the back of their minds, this girls just going to get her degree and go have a family; it doesnt matter. Identity: StereotypesTheres a lot of pressure to like, date, and get married, get out of this stage of your life and get on to that next stage. And that can be kind of frustrating to me because its like stereotypically, the average BYU co-ed supposedly gets asked out on dates all the time, and when thats not happening to you, you start to wonder, whats wrong with me? That can be kind of frustrating.Identity: StereotypesIm 24 and in BYU speed, being 24 and single is like, better start buying cats [laughter].Domain 2: Emotional, Mental, & Physical Health Core Ideas: Women find that the stresses of school affect their overall health. Women dealing with emotional, mental, or physical issues struggle to find a way to cope. Women feel there is a stigma attached to seeking for help with their problems. HealthCore Idea 1: Women find that the stresses of school affect their overall health.

Health: StressI think its all a cycle. For me, the number one thing...is stress and stress management because I know when Im stressed I eat badly. When you eat badly, you gain weight, and then you feel negative about yourself. Its just like a cycle to me and I think especially as students right now...I would love to eat healthy and exercise but its just not enough time. Its awful!Health Core Idea 2: Women dealing with emotional, mental, or physical issues struggle to find a way to cope.

Health: DepressionI think depression is one of the main things. It's hard when you're in such a closed environment and you're away from your family; you're not close to your family, it's hard. You have roommates that are in relationships that are going great and you're not, or whatever, or you just don't feel like you get along with your roommates...it can be hard to be happy all the time.Health: CopingI was really depressed and kind of stopped functioning, but I couldnt point to any reason why- nothing traumatic happened, there was nothing. I just was. So I had to kind of let go of that assumption that I needed a reason to come here [the counseling center]. I didnt need a reason. I just needed help.Health: Eating DisordersI've seen several girls in different capacities who are dealing with either depression or eating disordersBased on the number of my personal acquaintances who have dealt with it, I would guess that there are a lot of people out there who are maybe dealing with that on some level and not accessing the resources that they need because they may not know that they're there, or may not know that it's ok and really important to do that.HealthCore Idea 3: Women feel there is a stigma attached to seeking for help with their problems.

Health: Therapy is WeirdI feel a little bit awkward just walking in, I need some help, because I feel like oh, am I psycho or something?..Therapy is weird, its only for like crazy people, but Ive talked to my family about getting help with family issues, and I think they think its weird; its taboo to even mention you should to go see a counselor.Health: Counseling StigmaSo its definitely a hard balance to try to find how can you get people to not feel intimidated by it [counseling]...I think its a barrier, getting people in beforehand, before problems become depression or become really serious, anxiety or something or you bottom out. Thats definitely an issue on campus. Health: Counseling StigmaI havent really shared this- its kind of personal- but I have sought out counseling and stuff, and therapy, and it has made a world of difference...I dont know why I don't share it more with my friends. I guess I am kind of embarrassed, in a way, that I have seen a counselor and stuff, but I wish when I hear my friends concerns, Ive recommended it. I recommend it to anyone, just going and talking. It helps so much.Domain 3: RelationshipsCore Ideas:The pressure to date and marry causes anxiety among some women.Concerns within dating relationships may cause anxiety among women. Women are concerned about their relationships with close family members, friends, and roommates, in addition to dating relationships.

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