Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Oswald, Debra L.

Second Advisor

Hoelzle, James

Third Advisor

Howard, Howard


Women experience hostile sexism and benevolent sexism in various aspects of their lives and the effects of these experiences have been shown to greatly affect their performance in career-related domains. Researchers have posited that this reduction in performance is related to self-doubt (Dardenne et al., 2007; Kuchynka et al., 2018) which can affect women’s careers long-term. However, the effects of self-doubt on women’s careers may vary depending on the stereotyped context of the environment. The current study examined if the relationship between experiences with sexism and career aspirations is mediated by self-doubt. Further, it was examined if the relationships changed based on type of sexism experienced and type participants’ type of major (feminine or masculine). Results did not support the presence of a mediation relationship across all forms of sexism in both feminine and masculine majors. Additional analysis indicated that experiences of heterosexual intimacy were positively associated with career aspirations in feminine majors and negatively associated with self-doubt in both types of majors. Protective paternalism experiences were associated with greater self-doubt in masculine and feminine majors. Experiences with protective paternalism were also associated with higher odds of being in a masculine major. We discuss implications of these results for understanding factors which affect women’s choice in major.

Included in

Psychology Commons