Answered By: Linda Kern Last Updated: Jan 30, 2017 Views: 36
I couldn't find anything specifically about women over 40 or middle aged women. Women over 40 who are attending college are grouped into the category of nontraditional students.
I suggest you search ERIC, the largest education database. Search using the terms DE "Nontraditional Students" AND women. The DE and quotation marks are important to the search, so you might want to paste it into the search box. I limited the results to the last 10 years and full text. the search returns articles such as O'Shea, S., & Stone, C. (2011). Transformations and self-discovery: Mature-age women's reflections on returning to university study. Studies In Continuing Education, 33(3), 273-288. Don't let "mature age" put you off. These women were over 30, not in their seventies or eighties as one might expect.
If you don't find what you need in ERIC, another option would be to search Academic Search Complete. Search ZE "nontraditional college students" using the same date and full text limiters. Here's you'll find articles such as Markle, G. (2015). Factors influencing persistence among nontraditional university students. Adult Education Quarterly, 65(3), 267-285. doi:10.1177/0741713615583085. The article doesn't give the subjects' age range, but the demographic characteristics indicate any may be 40 or older.
Good luck with your research!