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Career aspirations of upper year university students Schroeder, Marsha Lynn


One hundred and six female and 53 male upper year university students participated in a questionnaire study of career aspirations. The questionnaire covered the topics of perceived parental closeness, support, and sex role endorsement; maternal employment,'career commitment, influences on career choice, career values, and desired adult role commitments. Measures of eight personality traits were included: Abasement, Achievement, Affiliation, Autonomy, Dominance, Endurance, Nurturance, and Succorance. The women respondents were divided into two groups based on whether their career choices were traditionally or nontraditionally feminine. Three groups were formed: traditional women (N =48), nontraditional women (N=58), and men. As hypothesized, the two groups of women differed. More of the nontraditional women had mothers who were employed during the respondent's childhood. The traditional women reported being influenced, in making their career choice, by a greater number of factors. In terms of career related features the traditional women more often valued being able to help others while the nontraditional women were more concerned with salary potential, freedom from supervision, and job availability. Discriminant function analysis revealed that the two groups of women could be differentiated by the eight personality trait measures. Univariate analysis revealed that, the traditional women scored higher on Affiliation and Nurturance. The nontraditional women desired fewer children than the traditional women. They reported being somewhat more liberal in their conceptions of their future marital roles. The men studied indicated more traditional conceptions of their future roles than both groups of women. Few men indicated willingness to limit their job participation to attend to child care. The realism of women's career aspirations was discussed in terms of both academic preparation and marital role demands. Changing trends in adult roles for both sexes were considered. Methodological problems inherent in the study of women's career aspirations and career participation were discussed along with recommendations for further research.

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