The Experiences of Latina Graduate Students in Psychology Programs
Celaya, Patricia E.
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This study explored the experience of Latinas in doctoral programs in psychology using a qualitative phenomenological methodology. Eleven women who self-identified as Latina and were in the process of working towards a doctoral degree in psychology participated in in-person interviews that were audio-recorded. Participants described experiences that illustrate their experience as Latina doctoral students in psychology, discussed how their Latina identity played a role in their graduate education experience and elaborated on what they would say to a Latina interested in pursuing the same academic path. A general meaning structure of the experiences of Latinas in doctoral programs in psychology was generated based on the collective themes that emerged from transcript analysis. Identification of characteristic components of the Latina experience in doctoral psychology programs within the general meaning structure elucidated the following themes: (a) ethnic identity saliency, (b) encountering challenges, (c) rewards of the academic culture, (d) navigating via coping strategies, (e) social support systems, (f) undergoing cognitive and/or behavioral shifts in self efficacy, and (g) encouraging the next generation. Conclusions were derived in regards to the persistence of Latinas in doctoral programs in psychology and examined in relation to the Psychosociocultural (PSC) model (Castellanos & Gloria, 2007).