Conscientiousness, resilience and personality: What do mature female students tell us about being an adult learner on a Foundation Programme at a Business School?

David Stoten*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper reports on the coping strategies of mature female students whilst studying a Foundation Programme at a Business School. In recent years, research has focussed less on the problems that confront adult learners and more on how they exercise personal agency and cope with the multifarious challenges of combining study with part-time employment and a home life. In particular, interest has focussed on the personality and how specific traits are associated with performative success. This paper reports on two aspects of personality that appear in the literature: conscientiousness and resilience as these are associated with the exercise of personal agency. The research reports on interviews with five mature female students, three of whom are mothers with caring responsibilities. The findings were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and provide insight into the exercise of successful personal agency. This paper also offers a model of how to conceptualise the support for mature students with their complex and varied needs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdult Learning
Early online date6 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2024

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