Feeling the Threat: Stereotype Threat as a Contextual Barrier to Women's Science Career Choice Intentions

  • Deemer E
  • Thoman D
  • Chase J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Social cognitive career theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994, 2000) holds that contextual barriers inhibit self-efficacy and goal choice intentions from points both near and far from the active career development situation. The current study examined the influence of one such proximal barrier, stereotype threat, on attainment of these outcomes among women considering careers in science. Participants were female undergraduate students (N = 439) enrolled in chemistry and physics laboratory classes. As predicted, results indicated that stereotype threat exerted a significant negative indirect effect on women’s science career choice intentions in physics but not chemistry. Single-pathway models positing a chain of effects of stereotype threat via science self-efficacy and intentions to pursue undergraduate research were also shown to fit the data better than multiple-pathway models in both physics and chemistry. Implications for the career development of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are discussed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • science self-efficacy
  • social cognitive career theory
  • stereotype threat
  • women in STEM

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Authors

  • Eric D. Deemer

  • Dustin B. Thoman

  • Justin P. Chase

  • Jessi L. Smith

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