Social Placement of Adolescents: Sex-Role Influences on Family Decisions regarding the Careers of Youth


Families, Careers, Social Placement, Sex-role, father, mother


In a simulation game designed for families to plan adolescents' career goals, 183 families were studied for evidence that traditional sex-role attitudes were reflected in family decisions regarding the career goals of teenagers. Special attention was focused upon 96 of these families, each having both a male and female adolescent. Results indicated that family decisions favored the career goals of adolescent males over adolescent females by a 4 to 1 ratio. That is, the differential preference given to adolescents' goals seemed to be determined by the adolescents' gender. Further- more, this variable retained its explanatory efficacy despite analyses for the effects of such alternative variables as the ordinal position of the adolescent, religious preference of parents, religiosity of parents, education of fathers, fathers' income, employment status of mothers, and whether the daughters desired an occupational or homemaking career as a primary life goal. Another important finding was that daughters were divided about equally in their choices of an occupational versus homemaking career. Generational differences were also prevalent, because fathers clearly preferred domestic goals for their daughters more than adolescent females chose these goals for themselves.

Original Publication Citation

"Social Placement of Adolescents: Sex-role Influences on Family Decisions Regarding the Careers of Youth," Journal of Marriage and the Family 44 (August):633-646.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Marriage and the Family




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor