Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Open Access Thesis


Stereotypes (Social psychology); Occupations--Sex differences; Vocational guidance--Sex differences;


Associating careers with a specific gender can lead to women and men turning away from jobs atypical of their gender (e.g., math-related for women and care-related for men). The effects of stereotype threat, defined as the negative impact associated with the fear of confirming negative stereotypes about one’s social group (Steele & Aronson, 1995) on women and men’s working self-concept (a dynamic view of oneself) may provide some insight as to whether genderization of careers can affect women and men at the individual level. The current research examined the role played by gender-related stereotype threat cues in self-concept consistency (SCC). One hundred and forty-two college students (80 women) completed a reaction time-based career categorization task in which participants categorized math, care, and neutral jobs as either being related to “me” or “not me.” Then, participants received a threatening (i.e., why men (women) are not as successful as in care (math) careers as women (men)) or a non-threatening (i.e., differences in career choices) cue and completed a questionnaire on their identification with domains related to math (e.g., algebra) and care (e.g., taking care of others). Finally, participants completed a second reaction time-based career categorization task, and the Implicit Associations Task (IAT) on their associations between words related to the categories of “self”, “others”, “math”, and “care.” Only men showed a significant reduction in the number of gender atypical (i.e., care-related) careers associated with themselves after experiencing the threatening cue, suggesting that men may disassociate themselves from care-related careers once gender-related negative stereotypes about men in those careers are activated. Women remained unaffected by the threatening cue, possibly as a result of the negative stereotypes about women and math being more prevalent, and thus more generalized rather than cue-dependent. The extent to which men and women identified with math- and care-related careers did not significantly moderate the number of gender atypical careers selected or their reaction times in categorizing these careers. The results aid in understanding how stereotype threat affects both men and women in relation to their self-concept and future career choices, complimenting findings from test-based situations. For future research, the exploration of perception of choice in career-related gender gap may aid in understanding the interaction between gender roles and the social environment, in hopes of encouraging the general population to pursue careers based on skills and abilities rather than gender.

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Helen C. Harton

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 115 pages)



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