Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. Kathy Cooter

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Dinkins

Third Advisor

Dr. Nelson Lopez


Two research questions guided this study: (1) Which barriers to daily life are faced by undocumented Latina mothers in Kentucky; and (2) What resources and strategies do they employ to navigate these barriers? Extant research reviewed has characterized this segment of the population as highly stressed victims of multiple levels of subjugation. Ten undocumented immigrant mothers from Guatemala and Mexico residing in Kentucky were interviewed for this phenomenological study and their responses analyzed using the frameworks of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. As predicted, themes of family separation, difficulties to be able to work, and living without health insurance emerged as major barriers to daily life. However, findings also included themes of personal growth, ingenuity, and positive attitudes to life in the region.