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The role of friends in career compromise: Same-gender friendship intensifies gender differences in educational choice

By Samantha Sinclair, Rickard Carlsson and Fredrik Björklund


We propose a mechanism of how the desire to maintain friendships can intensify gender differences in educational choice. The required conditions for this mechanism would be that (1) adolescent males and females differ in their overall educational preferences, (2) wanting to stay close to friends motivates some adolescents to adjust their educational choice in line with their friends' choices, and (3) adolescents have a higher share of same-gender, than other-gender, friends. Study 1 confirmed that these criteria were met, and Study 2 found an association between friendship priority and gender typed field of study. In conclusion, adjusting educational choices in order to maintain friendships put adolescents at risk of compromising their true career interests, and also becomes an obstacle to a gender balanced labor market

Topics: Psychology, educational choice, gender differences, friendship, gender segregation, career choice
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jvb.2013.12.007
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