Advertisement

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
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Alper, J. (1993). The pipeline is leaking women all the way along. Science, 260, 409–411.Google Scholar
  2. American Association of UniversityWomen. (1992). How schools shortchange girls: A study of major findings of girls and education. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Bae, Y., & Smith, T. M. (1996). Issues in focus:Women in mathematics and science. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs, N J: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Bar-Haim, G., & Wilkes, J. M. (1989). A cognitive interpretation of the marginality and under-representation of women in science. Journal of Higher Education, 60, 371–387.Google Scholar
  6. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497–529.Google Scholar
  7. Beggs, J. M., & Doolittle, D. C. (1993). Perceptions now and then of occupational gender typing: Areplication of Shinar's 1975 study. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23, 1435–1453.Google Scholar
  8. Betz, N., & Hackett, G. (1981). The relationship of career-related self-efficacy expectations to perceived career options in college women and men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 28, 399–410.Google Scholar
  9. Betz, N. E., & Hackett, G. (1986). Applications of self-efficacy theory to understanding career choice behavior. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 4, 279–289.Google Scholar
  10. Cantor, N., & Kihlstrom, J. (1987). Personality and social intelligence. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  11. Catsambis, S. (1995). Gender, race, ethnicity, and science education in the middle grades. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32, 243–257.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.) Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  14. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & LeFevre, J. (1989). Optimal experience in work and leisure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 815–822.Google Scholar
  15. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R.M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination inhumanbehavior. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  16. Dick, T. P., & Rallis, S. F. (1991). Factors and influences on high school students' career choices. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 22, 281–292.Google Scholar
  17. Eccles, J. S. (1994). Understanding women's educational and occupational choices. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 585–609.Google Scholar
  18. Glick, P., Wilk, K., & Perreault, M. (1995). Images of occupations: Components of gender and status in occupational stereotypes. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 32, 565–582.Google Scholar
  19. Harackiewicz, J. M., & Sansone, C. (1991). Goals and intrinsic motivation: You can get there from here. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 7, 21–49.Google Scholar
  20. Holland, J. L. (1985). Making vocational choices (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  21. Hyde, J. S., Fennema, E., & Lamon, S. J. (1990). Gender differences in mathematics performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 139–155.Google Scholar
  22. Isaac, J., Sansone, C., & Smith, J. (1999). Other people as sources of interest in an activity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 239–265.Google Scholar
  23. Jacobs, J. E., Finken, L. L., Griffin, N. L., & Wright, J. D. (1998). The career plans of science-talented rural adolescent girls. American Educational Research Journal, 35, 681–704.Google Scholar
  24. Kelly, K. R. (1993). The relation of gender and academic achievement to career self-efficacy and interests. Gifted Child Quarterly, 37, 59–64.Google Scholar
  25. Kruglanski, A.W. (1975). The endogenous-exogenous partition in attribution theory. Psychological Review, 82, 387–406.Google Scholar
  26. Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Hackett, G. (1994). Toward a unifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice, and performance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45, 79–122.Google Scholar
  27. Lent, R. W., Lopez, F. G., & Bieschke, K. J. (1991). Mathematics self-efficacy: Sources and relation to science-based career choice. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38, 424–430.Google Scholar
  28. Lips, H. M. (1992). Gender-and science-related attitudes as predictors of college students' academic choices. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 40, 62–81.Google Scholar
  29. Lopez, F.G., & Lent, R.W. (1992). Sources of mathematics self-efficacy in high school students. Career Development Quarterly, 41, 3–12.Google Scholar
  30. Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. P. (1992). Gender differences in abilities and preferences among the gifted: Implications for the Math-Science pipeline. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 1, 61–66.Google Scholar
  31. Matheson, K., & Strickland, L. (1986). The stereotype of the computer scientist. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 18, 15–24.Google Scholar
  32. McAdams, D. P. (1989). Intimacy: The need to be close. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  33. McLean, H. M., & Kalin, R. (1994). Congruence between self-image and occupational stereotypes in students entering gender-dominated occupations. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 26, 142–162.Google Scholar
  34. Morgan, C., & Sansone, C. (1995). Achievement and interpersonal concerns in everyday problems: Gender differences and similarities. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  35. Murray, H. A., (1938). Explorations of personality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Poole, M., Langan-Fox, J., & Omodei, M. (1990). Determining career orientations in women from different social class backgrounds. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 23, 471–490.Google Scholar
  37. Rowe, R., & Snizek, W. E. (1995). Gender differences in work values: Perpetuating the myth. Work and Occupations, 22, 215–229.Google Scholar
  38. Ryan, R. M., & Connell, J. P. (1989). Perceived locus of causality and internalization: Examining reasons for acting in two domains. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 749–761.Google Scholar
  39. Sansone, C. (1986). A question of competence: The effects of competence and task feedback on intrinsic interest. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 918–931.Google Scholar
  40. Sansone, C., & Berg, C. (1993). Adapting to the environment across the lifespan: Different process or different inputs? International Journal of Behavioral Development, 16, 215–241.Google Scholar
  41. Sansone, C., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (1996). “I don't feel like it”: The function of interest in self-regulation. In L. Martin & A. Tesser (Eds.), Striving and feeling: Interactions between goals and affect (pp. 203–228). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Sansone, C., & Morgan, C. (1992). Intrinsic motivation and education: Competence in context. Motivation and Emotion, 16, 249–270.Google Scholar
  43. Sansone, C., Morgan, C., & Smith, J. L. (1999). [The effects of match between interpersonal work goals and interpersonal purpose goals on interest]. Unpublished data.Google Scholar
  44. Sansone, C., Sachau, D., & Weir, C. (1989). The effects of instruction on intrinsic interest: The importance of context. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 818–829.Google Scholar
  45. Sansone, C., & Smith, J. L. (2000). Interest and self-regulation: The relation between having to and wanting to. In C. Sansone & J. M. Harackiewicz (Eds.), Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance (pp. 341–372). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  46. Seymour, E. (1995). The loss of women from science, mathematics, and engineering undergraduate majors: An explanatory account. Science Education, 79, 437–473.Google Scholar
  47. Smith, J. L., Morgan, C., & Sansone, C. (in press). Getting (inter)personal: The role of other people in the self-regulation of interest. Advances in Psychology, Vol. 5. NewYork: NOVA Science Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  48. Smith, J. L., Ruiz, J. M., & Isaac, J. D. (1999). Interpersonal orientation: A descriptive profile. Manuscript in preparation.Google Scholar
  49. Staw, B. M., Sandelands, L. E., & Dutton, J. E. (1981). Threat-rigidity effects in organizational behavior: A multilevel analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly, 26, 501–524.Google Scholar
  50. Strough, J., Berg, C. A., & Sansone, C. (1996). Goals for solving everyday problems across the lifespan: Age and gender differences in the salience of interpersonal concerns. Developmental Psychology, 32, 1106–1115.Google Scholar
  51. Stumpf, H., & Stanley, J. (1996). Gender related differences on the College Board's Advanced Placement and Achievement tests, 1982–1992. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 353–364.Google Scholar
  52. White, R. W. (1959). Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66, 297–333.Google Scholar
  53. Wilson, T. D., & Brekke, N. (1994). Mental contamination and mental correction: Unwanted influences on judgments and evaluations. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 117–142.Google Scholar
  54. Yoder, J. D., & Scheicher, T. L. (1996). Undergraduates regard deviation from occupational gender stereotypes as costly for women. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 34, 171–188.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations