Which Role Shall I Perform?

The Doctoral Experience of Women


  • Aviva Vincent Case Western Reserve University
  • Megan Weber Case Western Reserve University
  • Danielle Sabo Case Western Reserve University


Doctoral women experience disparities in self-efficacy, degree completion, and mental fatigue compared to men-identified colleagues. Women pursuing doctorates express hardships mirroring those reported in the 1970s. Applied qualitative methodology yielded emergent themes, contextualized by the frameworks of role theory and academic resilience theory. The experiences shared by the women in this study support that the expectations of women regarding the doctoral process do not align with the situational reality, specifically regarding imposter syndrome, mentorship, family-planning, financial support, and social expectations. Recommendations for departments and universities are provided to create a more just experience.

Author Biographies

Aviva Vincent, Case Western Reserve University

Adjunct faculty, Mandel School of Appied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University

Director of Program Quality at Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center in Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Instructor, University of Tennessee in the Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program.

Founder and co-chair of the human-animal interactions workgroup with National Association of Social Workers, Ohio chapter

Megan Weber, Case Western Reserve University

Depatment of English, Adjunct faculty 

Danielle Sabo , Case Western Reserve University

Department of Sociology, PhD candidate 

Research Associate, Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences







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