Female Ph.D. Students’ Emotional Identity Based on their Lived Experiences in Higher Education

Document Type : Scientific - Research


1 Ph.D Student of Curriculum Development, Department of Education, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Education, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Education, Faculty of Psychology and Education ,Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Objective: Identity discourse and having a perception of one’s own self have always been one of the main human concerns. Identity refers to various ways in which individuals and groups are distinguished from other individuals and groups in their social relationships.The identity construction process is not emotionally neutral and is always under the influence of emotions. Emotional identity refers to the identification process through emotions. It considers how emotions guide a person toward an understanding of who he is and how he perceives the world. This study was conducted to achieve a better understanding of the female students’ emotional identity based on their meaningful experiences in higher education and hermeneutic phenomenology.
Materials and Methods: The participants of this research are 4 Ph.D. students studying in the humanities and sciences fields in public universities. These women’s narratives regarding their emotional lived experiences in the university were collected through a semi-structured phone interview and the additional steps had been conducted through WhatsApp Messenger. The Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and Max van Manen’s approach in phenomenology.
Discussion & Conclusion: Findings indicate that the professor's emotional support of the student, emotional imitation of the professor, interest in the university living environment, having a voice, and ethnic intersection with emotion are among the factors that are affecting the emotional identity construction and reconstruction of the women participating in this study. These women’s most influential experiences on the emotional identity developed from their interactions with the professors, especially their supervisors, furthermore, participants considered their professors as a source to confirm and strengthen their emotional identity. According to the present study’s conclusions, since emotional change is tied to learning, the professor’s emotional support of female Ph.D. students has improved their personal and scientific abilities. Moreover, creating a flexible, safe, and pluralistic environment for the students, especially female students, creates a sense of belonging and better interaction with oneself and others. Therefore, the struggle for self-identity confirmation becomes a profound discourse to understand oneself and others in a facilitating environment.


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