Not Feeling Good in STEM: Effects of Stereotype Activation and Anticipated Affect on Women’s Career Aspirations

Not Feeling Good in STEM: Effects of Stereotype Activation and Anticipated Affect on Women’s... Despite great efforts to increase women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), relatively few women choose careers in these fields. We argue that women might expect to feel less good in contexts where unfavorable gender stereotypes are activated in their minds (e.g., by strong underrepresentation) and, consequently, are less likely to aspire to STEM careers. In two pilot studies (Ns = 28/61), we confirmed that undergraduate women expect more negative and less positive affect (i.e., generally (un)pleasant emotions) and a heightened sense of threat in a stereotype-activating, compared to a not stereotype-activating, test scenario. In Study 1 (N = 102), the scenario indirectly lowered college women’s STEM career aspiration (adjusted for preliminary domain identification) due to lower anticipated positive affect, but not to higher negative affect, in the stereotype-activating scenario. The scenario had no detrimental effect on college men’s anticipated affect or their career aspirations. In Study 2, 91 high school students reported anticipated affect and self-efficacy in different university majors and their intentions to choose the subject as a major. The more stereotypically male (in terms of gender distribution) the subject, the more negative and the less positive was young women’s, but not young men’s, anticipated affect. Only lower positive, but not higher negative, affect predicted low study intentions over and above self-efficacy. To increase women’s aspirations, their expected feelings in STEM deserve attention. One approach to foster positive affect might be to create less stereotypical STEM contexts. Sex Roles Springer Journals

Not Feeling Good in STEM: Effects of Stereotype Activation and Anticipated Affect on Women’s Career Aspirations

Loading next page...
Springer US
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial