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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Student seeks subjects for health, wellness study

  • A Lindsborg woman is trying to give a voice to women born during the Great Depression.
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  • A Lindsborg woman is trying to give a voice to women born during the Great Depression.
    Irene Nielsen, a doctoral student at the University of the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colo., is studying how adversities women who grew up during this era experienced affect the women's current well-being and resiliency.
    Nielsen said she chose to study this group of women because they grew up in a culture when there were few options for birth control and few career options beyond motherhood.
    "Tom Brokaw wrote about the Greatest Generation, but he wrote about men," Nielsen said. "Women faced many social adversities and were expected to pursue marriage as a career."
    The lack of emotional resiliency can affect women in later life, but Nielsen predicts in her hypothesis the women from this generation will be more resilient based on the early hardships in their lives.
    "I think these women will have coped with their adversity and have positive self-esteem rather than ruminating in he past," she said.
    Nielsen's problem is that she has been unable to encourage the women in McPherson to come forward for her study. She is seeking 211 women for her study and has set up a schedule of teas to make initial contact with potential study participants.
    However, she only has been able to obtain interviews from two women thus far.
    Nielsen said the daughters of these women have told her many of the women in this age group do not feel their stories are important.
    Nielsen also was born during the Great Depression and said she understands some of the social, gender and psychological inequalities women born during that era experienced.
    "I want to listen to women and let them know their stories are meaningful," she said.
    Participation in the study is voluntary, and all information obtained will be kept confidential.
    Study participants may drop out of the study at any time.
    Nielsen said she decided to pursue her doctorate because she wanted to be active during her retirement and she wished to contribute to the field of health and wellness.
    Nielsen has her undergraduate degree in nursing from the Gustavus Adolphus in Minnesota. After earning her degree, she joined the Army. She earned her master's degree in maternal and new born nursing from University of Utah. She taught at Idaho State.
    She ran one of the first birth centers in the nation in Oregon, which delivered 2,500 babies under her leadership. She has four children of her own.
    She became a financial adviser and worked with older women on estate planning before deciding to pursue her doctorate.
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