The effects of self-esteem, locus of control, and exposure to nontraditional occupations on the employment interests of women in poverty
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This study analyzed the amount of variance in employment interests of a sample of poor women that may be attributed to self-esteem, locus of control, and exposure to nontraditional occupations and the interaction among these variables. A stratified random sample was selected from a population of 1172 participants enrolled in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in seven sites in Virginia. The selected sites were representative of geographic and economic areas in the state.
Two of the independent variables were measured using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the Rotter Locus of Control Scale. Demographic data and the variables of exposure to nontraditional occupations and employment interests were measured using the Employment Interests and Experiences Interview Schedule designed by the researcher. Data were collected by the paraprofessionals in each unit using the EFNEP records and through face-to-face interviews.
Descriptive statistics were reported and multiple regression procedures were utilized to analyze the data. The conclusions drawn were that the poor women in the sample were heterogeneous, had relatively high education and employment aspirations, and had low self-esteem. These women need more exposure to nontraditional occupations and they expressed a willingness to consider such careers. Poor women such as those in this study need a combination of support services to successfully make the transition to the workforce. For this group exposure to nontraditional occupations and higher self-esteem increased interest in nontraditional careers. Those with a higher self-esteem were also more likely to be interested in nonsex-typed occupations.
Programs that serve poor women may need to broaden their scope to match the needs of heterogeneous groups. These women also require indepth career counseling to help them understand the range and scope of occupations that are available, especially those that are nontraditional for their gender. Recommendations for further research which may expand the knowledge base about the employment interests of poor women are given. This research could contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty that affects an increasing portion of our population.
- Doctoral Dissertations