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A study of some psycho-sociological factors influencing the occupational interests of high school girls Crawford, Margaret Ruth

Abstract

This study examines part of the complex area of adolescent occupational interests and some of the psychological and sociological factors influencing these interests. Two groups of urban high school girls from areas of presumably differing socio-economic status are compared on the basis of scores made by the girls at grade IX level on the Lee-Thorpe Occupational Interest Inventory (Intermediate Form, 1956 Revision). The groups were unstratified with respect to type of high school "program" followed, ability, or achievement, and included fifty-three girls of one area and fifty-six of the other, all of whom had been routinely tested on the Lee-Thorpe in their grade IX year. The Lee-Thorpe scores were examined for probable relationship to socio-economic status, to choice of "University" or "General" programme in high school, and to scholastic ability. Possible stability of occupational interests at the grade IX level was tested. Additional data regarding the groups were summarized, and background differences in national origin, parental occupation and educational level, size of students' families, cultural and other opportunities and activities, were examined. Course choice comparisons of the two groups were tabulated and found to be indicative of considerable difference in the use made of courses offered. The two groups showed wide variety and differing degrees of participation in extra-curricular activities both in school and out. The hypothesis that occupational interests of high school girls are significantly related to psycho-sociological factors operant in the area where the students live, was confirmed for the fields of "Business" and "Artistic" interests. Choice of basic high school programme (University or General) and scholastic ability appeared not to influence occupational interests as a whole. Among the "University Programme" girls in both groups, significant relationships between socio-economic status and interest were apparent. A significant relationship between measured intelligence and socio-economic status was also found. Reliability of the Lee-Thorpe Inventory used at the grade IX level, and stability of girls' occupational interests at this age were tested. High correlations between test and re-test scores (after a five-month interval) were obtained, and stability of occupational interests at this level amply confirmed by the results. Findings of this study appear to agree with other studies in the field although a considerable lack of adequate research on the occupational interests of high school girls was discovered. Many areas for further and more accurate research were indicated.

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