Influence of gender, sex-role attitudes, and cognitive complexity on gender-dominant career choices

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Abstract

248 male and 344 female college students who had made a choice of major and occupation and who had indicated that they were highly satisfied with their choice were studied. The majors and occupations chosen were assigned a male-dominance index representing the proportion of men to women in the field. This index for major and for occupation served as the criterion variable. Gender, sex-role attitudes, and cognitive complexity (Cognitive Differentiation Grid) were the predictor variables. Three measures of sex-role attitude were employed: the Bem Sex-Role Inventory, the Attitudes Toward Women Scale, and an attitudes toward masculine transcendence scale. Path analysis and multiple regression analysis procedures were used. It was found that gender significantly predicted choice of gender-dominant majors and occupations. It was also found that the feminine-related, but not the masculine-related, sex-role attitude and cognitive complexity variables significantly predicted choice. Implications for expanding the career options of men and women are discussed. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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