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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimer: 1072-8325
ISSN En ligne: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2016014763
pages 309-327

THE ROLES OF THE PROTESTANT WORK ETHIC AND PERCEIVED IDENTITY COMPATIBILITY IN GRADUATE STUDENTS' FEELINGS AND ATTITUDES TOWARD STEM AND NON-STEM FIELDS

Jiyun Elizabeth L. Shin
Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794
Lisa Rosenthal
Department of Psychology, Pace University, 41 Park Row New York, NY, 10038
Sheri R. Levy
Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794
Ashley Lytle
Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794
Bonita London
Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794
Marci Lobel
Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794

RÉSUMÉ

In the United States, women's underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and men's underrepresentation in non-STEM fields remain persistent disparities that hinder the full equality and participation of men and women in particular career domains. Research and theory aimed at identifying the factors that contribute to engagement and retention of these underrepresented groups is needed. Individuals use fundamentally held beliefs, such as the Protestant work ethic (PWE), to make sense of and respond to academic situations. Findings from 834 graduate students at the start and end of their first year revealed that among STEM women, PWE-Equalizer (belief that everyone has equal ability to succeed) had a positive and PWE-Justifier (belief that people are responsible for their disadvantage) had a negative association with perceived identity compatibility and feelings and attitudes toward one's field', further, perceived identity compatibility mediated the associations of PWE-Equalizer and PWE-Justifier with feelings and attitudes. Among non-STEM men, similar results held for PWE-Equalizer but less so for PWE-Justifier. Among the majority groups (STEM men and non-STEM women), there was an inconsistent pattern in the associations among PWE, perceived identity compatibility, and feelings and attitudes, such that the associations were mostly not significant for these groups although some of the findings were similar to that of STEM women and non-STEM men. Implications for educational policies and interventions are discussed.