Sexist language in occupational information: Does it make a difference?

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill USA
Journal of Vocational Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.59). 10/1983; 23(2):227-232. DOI: 10.1016/0001-8791(83)90036-2


While several guidelines for avoiding sexist language in career materials have been published, little empirical evidence exists to support the assumption that sexist language in career information has deleterious effects on clients. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of sex-biased language in occupational information on subject interest and attitudes regarding gender appropriateness of occupations. Eighth-grade students read occupational briefs on two occupations presented in either neutral, female-biased, or male-biased language. Results showed a nonsignificant language effect and a significant sex difference in interest in the occupations. A significant three-way interaction (language by subject sex by occupation) was found for gender-appropriateness ratings. The findings, together with previous research, suggest that language may have little impact on specific occupational interests, but may affect other career attitudes related to interests.

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    ABSTRACT: This article reviews the literature related to vocational behavior and career development published during 1983. Journals in the fields of psychology, sociology, and organizational behavior were examined, and 445 relevant articles published in 42 different journals were identified. The review is organized around issues pertinent to the counseling psychology perspective (i.e., career development, vocational choice, vocational behavior of women, assessment, intervention strategies) and the industrial/organizational psychology perspective (i.e., personnel functions, worker adjustment problems, work adjustment) on vocational behavior.
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