The effects of career model prototypicality and age on children's occupational gender stereotypes and career interest
Borg, Maria R.
Schneider, David J.
Doctor of Philosophy
The present study examined nontraditional career modeling from the perspective of social categorization and subtyping theories. Its main objective was to isolate the discrete, additive, and interactive effects of the manipulated model prototypicality factors, femininity and exceptionality on a set of dependent measures related to children's occupational gender stereotyping and girls' career interest and confidence. This research also pioneered the use of peers as career models and examined their effectiveness relative to adults. In general, prototypical models were expected to be more influential in decreasing stereotypes and increasing girls' interest in the modeled career than atypical models. Results showed that model femininity did, in fact, have the hypothesized effect on girls' career interest. Also as hypothesized, models who were both feminine and nonexceptional generally had the most influence in decreasing stereotyping. The expectation that models who were both nonfeminine and exceptional would have the least influence was supported for only one of the stereotyping measures. On other stereotyping measures, a model exceptionality model femininity interaction revealed a pattern whereby feminine models had more influence when they were nonexceptional. No overall superiority of peer models over adult models was hypothesized, or found. The expectation that exceptional peers would inspire less career confidence than exceptional adults was supported.
Social psychology; Developmental psychology; Industrial psychology