A study was conducted utilizing Cross’ (1981) barriers to adult learning as a framework to better understand how adults successfully complete their graduate studies. Participants in the study were solicited via Facebook and LinkedIn. Three female adult learners who persisted in their graduate studies while balancing demands outside academics including employment and family responsibilities were selected. The study found the barriers identified by Cross 30 years ago–institutional, dispositional and situational–were still relevant for these female graduate adult learners. The phenomenological approach allowed the participants to describe how they made meaning of these barriers while overcoming them to persist in their graduate studies.


qualitative research

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.