ERIC Number: ED394430
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Choice of Major and Clarity of Purpose among College Seniors.
Dawson-Threat, Janice; Huba, Mary E.
This study examines relationships among several factors involved in choosing a major: gender, sex-role identification, clarity of purpose, and type of major (male-dominated or female-dominated). Study participants were 396 college seniors in the male-dominated College of Engineering and the female-dominated College of Education and Family and Consumer Sciences of an unspecified institution. Instruments used included the Student Development Task and Lifestyle Inventory Revised and the BEM Sex Role Inventory. Fewer than half of the students identified with traditional sex roles; yet most chose majors traditionally dominated by their gender. Choice of a traditional major was more likely to occur among women (72.4 percent) than among men (67.3 percent), even among androgynous individuals who psychologically identified with characteristics of both gender groups (androgynous women 76.8 percent, androgynous men 54.8 percent). Women in male-dominated majors viewed themselves as less feminine than women in female-dominated majors. A clearer sense of purpose was observed in women versus men in students in female-dominated majors versus those in male-dominated majors and in androgynous students versus those who were masculine-identified, feminine-identified, or undifferentiated. It is suggested that psychosocial and societal influences, not examined in this study, may also greatly impact the choice of a college major. (Contains 16 references.) (Author/NAV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Inventory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-13, 1996).