ON MOTIVATED ROLE SELECTION: GENDER BELIEFS, DISTANT GOALS, AND CAREER INTEREST

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Abstract

Despite widespread changes in occupational opportunities, men and women continue to show divergent preferences for careers. This research invoked a motivational framework to explain sex-differentiated career interest. From a role congruity perspective (Diekman & Eagly, 2008), the internalization of gender roles leads people to endorse gender-stereotypic goals, which then lead to interest in occupations that afford the pursuit of those goals. Three studies provided evidence for the hypotheses. Study 1 found that male- and female-stereotypic careers were perceived to afford different goals. Studies 2 and 3 found that men and women endorsed different goals and that this gender-normative goal endorsement predicted gender-stereotypic career interest. In addition, structural equation modeling (Study 3) indicated that internalization of gender roles fully accounted for sex-differentiated goal endorsement. These findings thus extend the social role theory framework to consider processes related to self-selection into specific social roles.

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