School-to-family and family-to-school enrichment in women pursuing post-secondary education
Mature and reentry female students enrolled in post-secondary education, in most cases, combine school with other life roles. Despite the growing trend to study how multiple roles may conflict with each other, evidence suggests that multiple roles can be enriching and that female non-traditional students are particularly prone to experience these benefits. Thus, we tested a school-to-family and family-to-school enrichment model, in which school dimensions (mastery experiences, low school exclusion, school satisfaction and school-to-family balance) were antecedents to school-to-family enrichment and family dimensions (family satisfaction and family-to-school balance) were antecedents of family-to-school enrichment. This model was tested, through path analysis, using 88 non-traditional Portuguese students (female student parents) enrolled in an evening undergraduate program. The model showed an adequate fit to the data, suggesting that aspects of school-to-family and family-to-school enrichment coexist. Mastery experiences and low school exclusion were associated with school-to-family enrichment while perceptions of school-to-family balance and satisfaction with the school role were not. Perceptions of family-to-school balance were associated with family-to-school enrichment but family satisfaction was not. These findings unveil a new view on mature students enrolled at the university, pointing to the role of positive experiences at school and on school-family balance to a better interface of school and family roles.