Sex Roles

, Volume 44, Issue 5–6, pp 295–320 | Cite as

The Role of Interest in Understanding the Career Choices of Female and Male College Students

  • Carolyn Morgan
  • James D. Isaac
  • Carol Sansone


Mismatch between college students' work goals and perceived goal affordances of physical/mathematical science careers may help explain gender differences in interest and career choice. In Study 1, the desire for interesting work was cited by most students in the sample (89% White, 6% Asian, 5% other). Compared to men, women reported interpersonal work goals more and high pay and status work goals less frequently. In Study 2, students (79% White, 12% Latino, 5% Asian, 4% other, predominantly middle class) perceived physical/mathematical science careers as less likely to afford interpersonal goals and more likely to afford high pay and status goals compared to other careers. Interpersonal goal affordances predicted greater interestingness for all careers, whereas high pay and status goal affordances predicted greater interestingness only for physical/mathematical sciences. Interestingness positively predicted likelihood of career choice.


Gender Difference College Student Social Psychology Status Work Middle Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Morgan
    • 1
  • James D. Isaac
    • 2
  • Carol Sansone
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin at WhitewaterUSA;
  2. 2.Research Triangle InstituteUSA
  3. 3.University of UtahUSA

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