Exploring the importance of career and family to women and men

Kimberly Anne Norton, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to investigate identity development within a college population using the family versus career domain (Archer, 1985a) and to determine how related constructs impacted upon this development, Erikson's (1968) psychosocial theory of personality was used as the theoretical basis of the study, along with the contributions of Franz and White (1985) and Miller et al. (1991). The four statuses of identity development (Marcia, 1968) were determined by administering the Family and Career Priority Interview (Archer, 1985b). A religiosity measure (Rohrbaugh & Jessor, 1975), the PAQ (Spence, Helmreich & Stapp, 1975) and the ATW (Spence, Helmreich & Stapp, 1973) were also administered. Chi-Square and ANOVAs were used to analyze the data. Contrary to expectation, results demonstrated overall sex differences in identity development. Sex differences were also found for the family vs. career domain. As expected, females were more likely than males to be in the identity achieved and moratorium statuses. Effects of age demonstrated that older males (ages 20-22) were more likely to experience crisis than younger males in both the family versus career and overall domains. As predicted, more liberal attitudes toward women were associated with the identity achieved and moratorium statuses for both sexes in the family versus career domain. Contrary to expectations, religiosity and sex-role orientation were not significantly related to identity status. Males and females approach identity issues differently, and females appear to explore their ideas about family and career priorities with more frequency than males. These findings can be used to develop programs for college students, as well as enhance psychotherapy with this population. Although sex differences are evident, it is important not to draw false conclusions about the "nature" of males and females. Even though the identity processes may differ for the sexes, both males and female appear to strive to balance both family and career.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Personality|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Norton, Kimberly Anne, "Exploring the importance of career and family to women and men" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9530034.