|dc.description.abstract||The purpose of the study was to examine individual psychological and family background characteristics differentiating traditional college women from nontraditional college women. Although research has found that nontraditional women differ from traditional women in many respects, the relative importance of the factors is not known. Developmental contextual ism and a dynamic interaction model of career development provided the conceptual framework of this study. Eight variables were selected from the relevant literature to assess the differences between the two groups of women: self-esteem, achievement motivation, academic achievement, sociability, locus of control, psychological masculinity, SES of the family of origin, and parental support and influence.
An ANOVA was employed to test eight hypotheses concerning differences between the groups. Five of these hypotheses were supported. Nontraditional women were found to have significantly higher self-esteem, higher academic achievement, greater internal locus of control, higher psychological masculinity, and higher SES family background than traditional women. Achievement motivation and parental support were greater for nontraditional women than traditional women, but the differences were not significant. Contrary to prediction, sociability was found to be significantly higher among nontraditional women than traditional women.
Stepwise discriminant analysis was used to test the last hypothesis. It was predicted that a cluster of competency traits consisting of self-esteem, achievement motivation, academic achievement, and psychological masculinity would distinguish women with a nontraditional occupational orientation from women aspiring to careers in female-dominated areas. It was also predicted that this cluster would account for significantly more variance than the non-competency characteristics of sociability, locus of control, SES, and parental support. The first part of the last hypothesis was partially supported. The results indicated that psychological masculinity, locus of control, academic achievement, and SES were the most powerful discriminators between the two groups of women. In addition, 76.99% of the cases were correctly classified. However, the amount of variance explained by the competency cluster a priori defined did not differ significantly from one accounted for by the non-competency variables.
Based on the findings of this study, a dynamic interactional approach to women’s career development appears to be a useful approach to the construction and empirical testing of theory. The variables included in this study were found to be significant indicators of women’s nontraditional career orientation. The pattern of results suggests that although traditional women have high levels of achievement motivation and parental support equivalent to their nontraditional peers, they tend to direct their achievement motivation and parental support toward a traditional goal, compared to pioneer women. There still remains the need to refine the concept of the competency cluster in a more precise manner and to explore its relation to women’s occupational development||