Self-efficacy and gender in STEM majors

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Vol: 22, Issue: 2

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Jordan, Katie; Carden, Randy
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
article description
This study investigated self-efficacy in men and women studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors at a small private university in order to determine whether women had lower self-efficacy scores than men, as has been suggested by previous research. The study also investigated the possibility of a negative correlation between femininity and self-efficacy. The participants (N=67) were evaluated using the College Academic Self-Efficacy Survey created by Owen and Froman (1988) to find self-efficacy scores, and the women (N=37) were also given the Bem Sex Role Inventory (Bem,1974) to determine femininity scores. The results found no relationship between gender and self-efficacy, as well as no correlation between femininity and self-efficacy. Possibilities suggested for why the results were different from past research include the small sample size and the college environment at this university. Possible further research could be done at larger universities to determine whether there is a factor at this school that makes the STEM majors more attractive and comfortable to women than at some other universities.