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Journal Article

Nurse or mechanic? The role of parental socialization and children's personality in the formation of sex-typed occupational aspirations

Authors

Publication date

Sep 2014

Abstract

Boys and girls with sex-typical aspirations are significantly more
likely to end up in sex-typical jobs as adults. Preference
formation among children is therefore relevant for
subsequent occupational outcomes. This study investigates the role of
parental
socialization and children's agency in the
formation of sex-typed occupational preferences using data for British
children
aged 11 to 15. We anchor agency in observable
psychological attributes associated with children's capacity to act in
the face
of constraints. We focus on two such attributes,
motivation and self-esteem. Our findings identify two main sources of
parental
influence: (1) parental sex-typical behaviors, from
which children learn which occupations are appropriate for each sex;
and
(2) parental socio-economic resources, which affect
children's occupational ambition. We find, additionally, that girls
with
high motivation and both girls and boys with high
self-esteem are less likely to aspire to sex-typical occupations, net of
parental characteristics. Motivation and
self-esteem help girls aim higher in the occupational ladder, which
automatically
reduces their levels of sex-typicality. For boys,
however, self-esteem reduces sex-typicality at all levels of the aspired
occupational distribution. This suggests that boys
with high self-esteem are better equipped to contradict the existing
social
norms regarding sex-typical behavior. Implications
are discussed.

Published in

Social Forces

Volume and page numbers

93 , 31 -61

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sf/sou051

ISSN

16

Subjects

Psychology, Young People, and Child Development

Links

http://serlib0.essex.ac.uk/record=b1587300~S5

Notes

Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*


Related publications

  1. Girls like pink: explaining sex-typed occupational aspirations amongst young children

    Javier G. Polavieja and Lucinda Platt

    1. Psychology
    2. Young People
    3. Child Development

#522621


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