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

Polavieja, Javier and Platt, Lucinda (2012) Nurse or mechanic? The role of parental socialization and children’s personality in the formation of sex-typed occupational aspirations. DoQSS Working Paper, No.12-10. Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK.

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Abstract

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 between 11 and 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 socio-economic resources, which affect children’s occupational ambition, and 2) parental sex-typical behaviors, from which children learn which occupations are appropriate for each sex. 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 inherited traits and parental characteristics. Motivation and self-esteem help girls to aim higher in the occupational ladder, which automatically reduces their levels of sex-typicality. In the case of 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. The implications of our findings are discussed.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://www.ioe.ac.uk/research/departments/369.html
Additional Information: © 2012 The Authors, Institute pf Education, University of London
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: No.12-10
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2014 09:51
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/55581/

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