Rural Girls? Perceptions of Success and the Effect of Living in a Rural Context

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Campbell, Katherine S
rural youth; grounded theory; success; rural context
thesis / dissertation description
The aim of this study was to better understand how young women in a rural community define successful adulthood and how life in a rural area benefited or challenged their transition into successful adulthood. Non-probability, purposive sampling was used to select a remote rural research site through the NCES classification system. Using a grounded theory approach, data were collected through the use of in-depth, semi-structured interviews from 10 girls in their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school in a rural Texas community. The participants defined success based on achievement, but recognized that the specific process of how success is achieved varies. Rural youth in this study identified common components of success: happiness, money, further education, a good job, and healthy relationships. Family members, school employees, and experiences youth had living in the rural community were all strong influences in developing youth?s perceptions of success and future plans. Additionally, the participants in this study identified the impact of the rural context on their perceptions of success and plans for achievement. Rural youth in this study recognized they needed to leave the community to pursue educational, occupational, and economic opportunities.