Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 493–504 | Cite as

Sex-Typed Personality Traits and Gender Identity as Predictors of Young Adults’ Career Interests

  • Lisa M. Dinella
  • Megan Fulcher
  • Erica S. Weisgram
Original Paper

Abstract

Gender segregation of careers is still prominent in the U.S. workforce. The current study was designed to investigate the role of sex-typed personality traits and gender identity in predicting emerging adults’ interests in sex-typed careers. Participants included 586 university students (185 males, 401 females). Participants reported their sex-typed personality traits (masculine and feminine traits), gender identities (gender typicality, contentment, felt pressure to conform, and intergroup bias), and interests in sex-typed careers. Results indicated both sex-typed personality traits and gender identity were important predictors of young adults’ career interests, but in varying degrees and differentially for men and women. Men’s sex-typed personality traits and gender typicality were predictive of their masculine career interests even more so when the interaction of their masculine traits and gender typicality were considered. When gender typicality and sex-typed personality traits were considered simultaneously, gender typicality was negatively related to men’s feminine career interests and gender typicality was the only significant predictor of men’s feminine career interests. For women, sex-typed personality traits and gender typicality were predictive of their sex-typed career interests. The level of pressure they felt to conform to their gender also positively predicted interest in feminine careers. The interaction of sex-typed personality traits and gender typicality did not predict women’s career interests more than when these variables were considered as main effects. Results of the multidimensional assessment of gender identity confirmed that various dimensions of gender identity played different roles in predicting career interests and gender typicality was the strongest predictor of career interests.

Keywords

Gender roles Career interests Sex-typed personality traits Gender identity 

References

  1. Abele, A. E. (2003). The dynamics of masculine-agentic and feminine-communal traits: Findings from a prospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 768–776.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. (2003). Women at work. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155–162.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Betz, N. E. (1995). Gender-related individual differences variables: New concepts, methods, and findings. In D. J. Lubinski & R. V. Dawis (Eds.), Assessing individual differences in human behavior: New concepts, methods, and findings (pp. 119–143). Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black.Google Scholar
  5. Betz, N. E., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1987). The career psychology of women. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bletz, A. M., Swanson, J. L., & Berenbaum, S. A. (2011). Gendered occupational interests: Prenatal androgen effects on psychological orientation to Things versus People. Hormones and Behavior, 60, 313–317.Google Scholar
  7. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011a). Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf.
  8. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011b). Women in the labor force: A databook (2010 edition). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-intro-2010.htm.
  9. Diekman, A. B., Brown, E. R., Johnston, A. M., & Clark, E. K. (2010). Seeking congruity between goals and roles: A new look at why women opt out of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. Psychological Science, 21, 1051–1057.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Diekman, A., Clark, E., Johnston, A., Brown, E., & Steinberg, M. (2011). Malleability in communal goals and beliefs influences attraction to STEM careers: Evidence for a goal congruity perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 902–918.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Diekman, A. B., & Eagly, A. H. (2008). On men, women, and motivation: A role congruity account. In J. Y. Shah & W. L. Gardner (Eds.), Handbook of motivation science (pp. 434–447). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  12. Eagly, A. H., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review, 109, 573–598.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Eccles, J. S. (1994). Understanding women’s educational and occupational choices. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 585–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Egan, S. K., & Perry, D. G. (2001). Gender identity: A multidimensional analysis with implications for psychosocial adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 37, 451–463.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Fulcher, M. (2011). Individual differences in children’s occupational aspirations as a function of parental traditionality. Sex Roles, 64, 117–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gottfredson, L. S. (1981). Circumscription and compromise: A developmental theory of occupational aspirations. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 28, 545–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Holland, J. L. (1959). A theory of vocational choice. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 6, 35–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational possibilities and work environments. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  19. Huston, A. C. (1983). Sex typing. In E. M. Hetherington (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Socialization, personality, and social development (4th ed., Vol. 4, pp. 387–467). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  20. Leaper, C., & Van, S. R. (2008). Masculinity ideology, covert sexism, and perceived gender typicality in relation to young men’s academic motivation and choices in college. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 9, 139–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lemkau, J. P. (1984). Men in female-dominated professions: Distinguishing personality and background features. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 24, 110–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lenton, A. P., Blair, I. V., & Hastie, R. (2001). Illusions of gender: Stereotypes evoke false memories. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liben, L. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2002). The developmental course of gender differentiation: Conceptualizing, measuring, and evaluation constructs and pathways. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 67, vii–147.Google Scholar
  24. Lippa, R. A. (1998). Gender-related individual differences and the structure of vocational interests: The importance of the people-things dimension. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 996–1009.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Lippa, R. A. (2005). Gender, nature, and nurture. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  26. Lips, H. M. (2003). The gender pay gap: Concrete indicator of women’s progress toward equality. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy, 3, 87–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mahalik, J. R., Perry, J. C., Coonerty-Femiano, A., Catraio, C., & Land, L. N. (2006). Examining conformity to masculinity norms as a function of RIASEC vocational interests. Journal of Career Assessment, 14, 203–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Martin, C. L., & Dinella, L. M. (2002). Children’s gender cognitions, the social environment, and sex differences in cognitive domains. In A. McGillicuddy-De Lisi & R. De Lisi (Eds.), Advances in applied developmental psychology (Vol. 21, pp. 207–239). Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.Google Scholar
  29. Martin, C. L., & Dinella, L. M. (2012). Congruence between gender stereotypes and activity preference in self-identified tomboys and non-tomboys. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 599–610.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Martin, C. L., Eisenbud, L., & Rose, H. (1995). Children’s gender-based reasoning about toys. Child Development, 66, 1453–1471.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Martin, C. L., & Halverson, C. F. (1981). A schematic processing model of sex typing and stereotyping in children. Child Development, 54, 1119–1134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Martin, C. L., Ruble, D. N., & Szkrybalo, J. (2002). Cognitive theories of early gender development. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 903–933.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Metzler-Brennan, E., Lewis, R. J., & Gerrard, M. (1985). Childhood antecedents of adult women’s masculinity, femininity, and career role choices. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 9, 371–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. National Academy of Sciences. (2006). Beyond bias and barriers: Fulfilling the potential of women in academic science and engineering. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11741.html.
  35. Patterson, M. (2012). Self-perceived gender typicality, gender-typed attributes, and gender stereotype endorsement in school-aged children. Sex Roles, 67, 422–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Perry, D. G., & Pauletti, R. E. (2011). Gender and adolescent development. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21, 61–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rand, L. (1968). Masculinity or femininity? Differentiating career-oriented and homemaking-oriented college freshmen women. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 15, 444–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ruble, D. N., & Martin, C. L. (1998). Gender development. In W. Damon & N. Eisenburg (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3, Social, emotional, and personality development (5th ed., pp. 933–1016). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  39. Ruble, D. N., Martin, C. L., & Berenbaum, S. A. (2006). Gender development. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Handbook of child development (pp. 858–932). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Ruble, D. N., Taylor, L. J., Cyphers, L., Greulich, F. K., Lurye, L. E., & Shrout, P. E. (2007). The role of gender constancy in early gender development. Child Development, 78, 1121–1136.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Spence, J. T. (1993). Gender-related traits and gender ideology: Evidence for a multifactorial theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 624–635.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Super, D. E. (1953). A theory of vocational development. American Psychologist, 8, 185–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Super, D. E. (1990). A life-span, life-space, approach to career development. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development (pp. 167–261). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  44. Tokar, D. M., & Jome, L. M. (1998). Masculinity, career choices, and vocational traditionality: Evidence for a fully mediated model. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 45, 424–435Google Scholar
  45. Weisgram, E. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2006). Girls and science careers: The role of altruistic values and attitudes about scientific tasks. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 326–348.Google Scholar
  46. Weisgram, E. S., Bigler, R. S., & Liben, L. S. (2010). Gender, values, and occupational interests among children, adolescents, and adults. Child Development, 81, 778–796.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Weisgram, E. S., Dinella, L. M., & Fulcher, M. (2011). The role of masculinity/femininity, values, and occupational value affordances in shaping young men’s and women’s occupational choices. Sex Roles., 65, 243–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zheng, L., Lippa, R. A., & Zheng, Y. (2011). Sex and sexual orientation differences in personality in China. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 533–541.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa M. Dinella
    • 1
  • Megan Fulcher
    • 2
  • Erica S. Weisgram
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMonmouth UniversityLong BranchUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWashington and Lee UniversityLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-Stevens PointStevens PointUSA

Personalised recommendations