Faculty Publications and Presentations


Poverty and Persistence: A Model for Understanding Individuals' Pursuit and Persistence in a Doctor of Education Program

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Education | Educational Psychology | Higher Education


This article was published in International Journal of Doctoral Studies in 2014.

Reproduced here by permission of the International Journal of Doctoral Studies.


The purpose of this systematic grounded theory study was to extend the theoretical foundations of self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2008), Tinto’s (1993) integration model of graduate persistence, and the framework of resilience (Cefai, 2004; Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000) to generate a theoretical model explaining how doctoral candidates from backgrounds of poverty persist through to successful admittance to doctoral candidacy. The proposed theoretical model provides an account for the relationship among significant losses in childhood that are subsequently transformed into positive attributes that motivated participants’ pursuit and persistence in a doctoral program. This study produced two new constructs contributing to the empirical and theoretical literature addressing persistence: familial integration and altruistic motivation. With high attrition rates across disciplines, this study makes an important contribution to the theoretical and empirical literature addressing doctoral persistence. Further, understanding the unique phenomena of familial integration and altruistic motivation assists universities in identifying marketing strategies and support services for the population under study.