The extent to which female high school seniors' expressed vocational plans match their measured vocational interests

Date

1982

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Abstract

Recent studies show that most women are still selecting traditional careers and suggest that the socialization process of sex role stereotyping is a potent factor in the selection. Little research had been done, at the time of this study, to determine if the stereotyping had prevented women from selecting careers which were appropriate to their vocational interests. Without such research, schools-and vocational education in particular-lack the information necessary to help women overcome sex role stereotyping and compete equally in the world of work. This study was conducted to determine the degree to which the expressed vocational plans of high school seniors and their measured vocational interests differed according to gender. Because the basis for expecting that a difference did exist was sex role stereotyping, a product of the socialization process, two selected demographic variables that were important to the process were controlled for in the analyses: ethnicity (Anglo and Hispanic) and socioeconomic status. The research question answered was: Do female high school seniors' expressed vocational plans match their measured vocational interests to a lesser degree than do those of males? Seven hypotheses were formulated for testing. The proposed study involved 136 twelfth grade students from two high schools in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, Public Schools district. First period classes were randomly selected so that at least forty students were in each of the categories of male Anglo, male Hispanic, female Anglo and female Hispanic. The students were informed of their potential involvement in the study by the teachers of their first period classes. Subsequently, data collection was accomplished in those classes. Permission to participate in the study was secured from the parents/ guardians of the students. Essential socioeconomic status data was also secured from the parents/guardians at that time. One week prior to the testing situation, the students stated their future vocational plans on an instrument. The Long-Term Career Selection Questionnaire (LTCSQ), designed for the study. In a regular class meeting, those students who had permission to participate in the study, completed the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII). The SCII scores were then matched to the LTCSQ's and a socioeconomic status score was assigned to each subject, using Duncan's (1961) Socioeconomic Index For All Occupations. Each subject was categorized according to gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class. Each subject was assigned the standard score from the SCII of the occupation he/she indicated was closest to his/her long-range vocational plan. Multiple regression was used, with the F-ratio of the partial and multiple correlation coefficients calculated to determine the statistical significance of the relationships observed. The significance level was set at .05. The results indicated that males, to a greater degree than females, selected careers that were more consistent with their vocationally- oriented interests (p<.05). It was found, however, that of the three factors investigated, only gender was significantly related to this selection. When each of the possible interactions between the three factors was tested for a significant relationship to the dependent variable of scores on the SCII for the subjects' selected careers, no significant relationships were found.

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Keywords

High school seniors--United States, Vocational interests, Sex role

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