What do you want to be when you grow up?: predicting gender differences in elementary-aged children’s occupational interests

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this study was to determine how perceived occupational knowledge, gender stereotypes and gender socialization influence children’s career interests. A sample of 185 children between the ages of 9 and 11 years of age (Mage = 9.78 years, 48.1% girls) completed a survey that measured perceived occupational knowledge, gender stereotyped beliefs and gender socialization. As expected, children were interested in, and perceived that they knew more about own-gender dominated occupations. Results did not support a mediation model but showed a relationship between children’s perceived occupational knowledge and occupational interest. Boys who experienced greater gender socialization and held more stereotypical beliefs about occupations were less interested in female-dominated occupations. Gender socialization moderated the relationship between perceived occupational knowledge and interest in own-gender occupations for both boys and girls.

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Developmental psychology