The psychosocial development of women religious aged 45 to 55

Marianne T. Ruggeri (1988)

This dissertation explores the psychosocial development of women religious aged 45 to 55. From information culled from previous research about women, the review of literature indicates that the psychosocial development of women aged 45 to 55 is characterized by a shift in their relationships with children, husbands, parents, work/career, and selves. Although women religious have chosen a life of celibacy and matured within institutional settings, they too are involved in relationships with children, parents, religious congregation, God, work, and selves. Using semi-structured life history interviews with five women religious, this study looked for evidence of stability or change in their relationships from ages 45 to 55. The findings indicate that the five women religious participants experienced the change in their relationships common to other women aged 45 to 55. There also is evidence that this shift signals a new phase of adulthood characterized by a desire for mutuality in relationships and, at the same time, an increasing differentiation and selective disengagement from others.