Study of the factors influencing sex differences in the career motivation of Iranian high school students

Helen S. Farmer, Nayereh Tohidi, Elisabeth R. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the study was to investigate some factors thought to influence sex differences in the Career Motivation of Iranian high school students. Subjects (n = 206) were balanced on sex, ages 17-18 and attending schools in Tehran, Iran. Measures included the criterion career motivation and six predictors: Sex, Social Class, Early Family Socialization, Religious Orientation, Community Resources and Community Discrimination against women 's careers. Multivariate regression analyses with partial correlations were used to test hypotheses. Hypotheses were that males would score higher than females on career motivation; upper middle class students would score higher than lower middle class students on career motivation; Scores on Early Family Socialization, Community Resources and Religious Orientation would be positively correlated with Career Motivation; and Community Discrimination would be negatively correlated with Career Motivation. Interactions were expected for Sex, Religious Orientation and Social Class. Main effects found in the regression analyses supported hypotheses related to Sex, Social Class, Community Discrimination and Early Family Socialization. It remained for the interpretation of three significant interaction effects to shed light on the contribution of Religious Orientation to Career Motivation. The three significant interactions found were Sex × Social Class; Sex × Religious Orientation; and Religious Orientation × Community Discrimination. It appeared that the religion measure was confounded by the new movement within Islam led by the Mojahedin Khalgh group that is supportive of women 's careers, in contrast to the dominant Shia Islam group. The Community Resources measure was significantly (p<.05) and positively related to career motivation but it did not contribute importantly to the prediction equation. The equation derived including interaction terms accounted for 41% of the variance. It was concluded that the analysis used provided an important addition to understanding complex phenomena such as career motivation in a changing social context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-39
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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