Date of Graduation


Document Type



The purpose of the study was to examine the evolution of the home economics philosophy from 1910 through 1975 and to outline the trends and developments in the profession over a 65 year period. Four structural components of home economics were traced 65 years through the Journal of Home Economics including: science as a base and its tie to agriculture; men in home economics; home economics1 skill orientation but broad-base; and the public image of the profession. The study examined selected developments in West Virginia home economics to note similarities and differences that existed between the State program and the national one. A projective questionnaire assessed the membership of the West Virginia Home Economics Association (WVHEA) about the future of the profession. A comparison of personal data between West Virginia home economists (N = 125) and AHEA members (N = 16,889) yielded the following information. West Virginia respondents earned less money than the AHEA respondents, but held more masters' and doctors' degrees than their national counterparts. The percent of males holding membership in WVHEA exceeded the national figures. Other data not comparable to AHEA noted that home economics education was the largest subject-matter specialization in the WVHEA. Seventy percent of the WVHEA respondents had taken additional course work for credit since earning their last degree and 75 percent of the additional work has been completed in the last five years. The second section of the questionnaire assessed West Virginia Home Economists about a number of items affecting the future of home economics„ A majority supported the notion that home economics should emphasize energy management and about half of them believed this involvement would have great social impact. WVHEA respondents were not united on the idea of integrating knowledge from several disciplines as compared to strengthening problem analysis and solutions in lieu of the specialized, subject matter approach to content. The WVHEA respondents agreed solidly that food and clothing labs should not be dropped from college and university programs. They strongly supported the idea of expanding efforts with other disciplines; however, they did not believe this would occur in West Virginia in the next ten years. WVHEA respondents believed that colleges and universities would probably develop institutional specialization rather than spread resources across multiple fields. A large portion of the respondents believed great social impact would be realized home economics would form a closer link between business and the consumer. West Virginia respondents were uncertain about the desirability of their role in shaping public policy. However, 44 percent enthusiastically supported the notion of taking a stand on public issues.