Stereotypical Science: Exploring High School Occupational Preferences for Science by Sex, Personality, and Cognitive Ability

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Circumscription and Compromise theory suggests self-concept and sex stereotype explain occupational preferences, including preferences for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Support exists for sex differences between males and females in both science degrees and science careers. The main thrust of observed sex differences in science lies in the development of occupational interest, as it has been suggested females are encouraged away from science due to stereotypes and social pressure. The present study evaluates high school juniors and seniors (n = 295) to explore their preference for science as indicated by science motivation, attitude, academic experience, and interest. Latent Profile ... continued below

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Ferguson, Sarah Lynn May 2016.

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  • Ferguson, Sarah Lynn

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Circumscription and Compromise theory suggests self-concept and sex stereotype explain occupational preferences, including preferences for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Support exists for sex differences between males and females in both science degrees and science careers. The main thrust of observed sex differences in science lies in the development of occupational interest, as it has been suggested females are encouraged away from science due to stereotypes and social pressure. The present study evaluates high school juniors and seniors (n = 295) to explore their preference for science as indicated by science motivation, attitude, academic experience, and interest. Latent Profile Analysis was used to model profiles of preferences for science with a person-centered approach. Then, the impact of self-concept variables was explored and four profiles of science interest were identified. Sex differences were identified based on science interest, but were not always in favor of males. Covariate analysis indicates vocabulary ability and personality as significantly different for students in the high science interest profile. Implications of these results and future research directions are discussed.

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  • May 2016

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  • June 28, 2016, 4:28 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 1:18 p.m.

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Ferguson, Sarah Lynn. Stereotypical Science: Exploring High School Occupational Preferences for Science by Sex, Personality, and Cognitive Ability, dissertation, May 2016; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc849758/: accessed November 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .