Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

First Advisor

Frances M. Smith


An increased emphasis on specializations within the home economics profession has raised serious concerns about the necessity for common core concepts in home economics curricula and the role of such concepts in facilitating the students' understanding of the integrative nature of the home economics profession;The American Home Economics Association's documents outlining accreditation criteria and guidelines identify a common body of knowledge as a necessary criterion for programs of home economics in higher education. It cannot be assumed, however, that students' exposure to a common core of experiences will automatically result in shared concepts, and competencies with regard to their professional competence in carrying out the mission of Home Economics;;The major purpose of this study is to seek insight into the personal meaning of home economics as experienced by students and to work with students to produce a description of those meanings and their relationship to concepts and competencies to be used by all specialists in Home Economics;;Data for the study were gathered through semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of fourteen seniors in a college of home economics at a large midwestern university. Findings indicated that early perceptions of home economics were based exclusively on gender role expectations. Perceptions of high school home economics were either limited or more inclusive depending upon the types of high school experiences the informants had encountered or observed. Perceptions had progressed to an integrative view at the time of the interviews. The students were able to conceptualize the interrelationships among areas of specialization and appeared to have an understanding of the complexity of integration;Suggestions for further research include a five year follow-up interview of the respondents as well as replication of the study at a comparable institution with comparable specialized programs. Further study might also include perceptions of faculty concerning the same concepts explored with students.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Lisa Christine LeBleu



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

136 pages