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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

The effect of occupational stereotypes and gender identity on women's career beliefs.

Author: Cronen, Stephanie Marie
Author Background: Washington U., US
Date 7/2000
Type Dissertation
Journal Title: Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering
Volume/Pages Vol 61(1-B): 586
Subject Matter Women, Young Adults, Research, Gender-Identity; Occupational Attitudes; Occupational Interests; Self-Efficacy; Stereotyped Attitudes
Abstract The goal of the present dissertation was to examine the effects of occupational stereotypes on women's career beliefs. The components of occupational stereotypes included occupational sex composition, occupational gender stereotypes, and status of an occupation. The career beliefs of interest were occupational self-efficacy, interest in an occupation, and the outcomes expected for pursuing an occupation. Gender identity was investigated as a moderator of the effects of all three components of occupational stereotypes on career beliefs. Perceived gender discrimination in the occupation was included as a mediator of the relationship between sex composition and career beliefs. Participants were 138 undergraduate women, who participated for partial course credit. Participants were first given a set of questionnaires measuring gender identity. After an unrelated filler task, participants read a one-page description of an occupation. The nature of the description varied across condition as a function of three manipulated factors: (a) sex composition (70% men vs. 70% women); (b) characteristics associated with the employee typical of the occupation (stereotypically masculine vs. feminine traits); and (c) the status associated with the occupation (high vs. low salary). Participants then completed the career belief questionnaires, which represented the main dependent variables in this study. Occupations described in stereotypically masculine terms were hypothesized to have a negative effect on women's career beliefs; this effect was proposed to be qualified, however, by individual differences in gender identity. The effect of sex composition on career beliefs was hypothesized to operate indirectly, through perceived gender discrimination. These predictions were not supported; in fact, male-dominated occupations were associated with greater occupational self-efficacy and interest in an occupation than female-dominated occupations. However, several higher order interactions partially supported the hypotheses, and demonstrate the complicated nature of the effects of gender identity and gender-related information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)