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Adolescence. 1994 Spring;29(113):133-50.

The effect of life domains on girls' possible selves.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Adopting a framework of "possible selves," this paper examines the relative importance of life domains by exploring the suggestion that women's work orientation can be identified as careerist, adaptive or home-centered, and that the choices women make about employment are made relatively early (Hakim, 1991). Sixth-form grammar school girls (N = 240) taking advanced level subjects were categorized as careerist or noncareerist, and differences between the two groups in terms of attainment, subject choice, attitudes toward career and family, interests and confidence in traditional and nontraditional occupations, and psychological variables such as general self-efficacy, sex-role orientation, person/object orientation, scholastic competence, autonomy, and self-worth were examined. It is suggested that work orientation and the importance of life domains may be useful factors to consider in girls' possible selves and may add to the wide-ranging debate as to why girls are underrepresented in the higher status, higher earning occupations.

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