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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v12.i4.40
pages 325-336

THE ROLE OF ATTITUDES AND INTERVENTION IN HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS' INTEREST IN COMPUTER SCIENCE

Erica S. Weisgram
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 2100 Main Street, Stevens Point, WI, 54481
Rebecca S. Bigler
University of Texas at Austin

ABSTRACT

Computer science is a rapidly growing field in which women are greatly underrepresented. To increase the number of women in computer science, more needs to be known about the factors that affect girls' interest in the field. The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to investigate the role of attitudes in predicting high school girls' interest in computer science and (b) to experimentally manipulate cognitions through intervention to examine possible consequent effects on computer science interest. Results indicated that girls' self-efficacy in, valuing of, and egalitarian attitudes toward computer science were jointly predictive of interest in computer science, though no one construct uniquely predicted interest. In contrast, boys' valuing of computer science was uniquely predictive of interest in computer science beyond the effects of self-efficacy and egalitarian attitudes. Further, girls' valuing of and egalitarian attitudes toward computer science can be increased via intervention. Experimentally induced increases in self-efficacy, valuing, and egalitarian attitudes toward computer science were not, however, causally linked to increases in computer science interest. As in other research, girls' interest in computer science was largely resistant to change. Implications for intervention strategies and theoretical models of the development of nontraditional occupational goals are discussed.


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