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24-08-2018 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2019

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2019

Adolescents’ Beliefs about Math Ability and Their Relations to STEM Career Attainment: Joint Consideration of Race/ethnicity and Gender

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2019
Auteurs:
Eunjin Seo, Yishan Shen, Edna C. Alfaro

Abstract

Much of the workforce demand in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the United States goes unmet, and females and racial/ethnic minorities are vastly underrepresented in these fields. To understand the psychological antecedents for STEM career attainment, this study took an intersectional approach and examined racial/ethnic and gender differences in youth’s math-related ability beliefs—growth mindset, self-concept, and career expectancy—and their longitudinal relations to STEM career attainment. Specifically, the study utilized nationally representative data of 10th graders over 10 years (n ~ = 14,320, Mage = 16.46, 50.4% female; 60.6% White, 15.5% Latinx, 14.1% Black, 9.8% Asian). The results indicated that youth’s math-related ability beliefs positively predicted their later STEM career outcomes. Furthermore, female adolescents’ math self-concept was more negative than male adolescents among Whites and Latinxs but not among Blacks and Asians. Black adolescents did not fully garner the advantage of having positive self-concept. Finally, high school math achievement did not predict Latina and Black youth’s STEM career expectancy. The current findings inform future interventions that different ability beliefs may need to be targeted for each race/ethnicity and gender.

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