Longitudinal associations between gender-typed skills and interests and their links to occupational outcomes

Bora Lee, Katie M. Lawson, Susan M. McHale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Although gender-based occupational segregation has declined in past decades, the world of work remains segregated by gender. Grounded in research showing that individuals tend to choose jobs that match their interests and skills, this study examined the longitudinal associations between gendered activity interests and skills from middle childhood through adolescence and tested gendered interests and skills, measured in adolescence, as predictors of occupational outcomes in young adulthood. Data were collected from 402 participants at four time points-when they averaged 10, 12, 16, and 25. years old. Results revealed that the longitudinal linkages between male-typed interests and skills were bidirectional, that both male-typed interests and skills in adolescence predicted working in male-typed occupations in young adulthood, and that skills, but not interests, predicted income. In contrast, female-typed interests predicted female-typed skills, but not the reverse, adolescent female-typed skills (but not interests) predicted working in female-typed occupations in young adulthood, and there were no links between female-typed interests or skills and income. Discussion focuses on the differential meanings and developmental implications of male- versus female-typed interests and skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-130
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development ( R01-HD32336 ) to Ann C. Crouter and Susan M. McHale, Co-Principal Investigators. We would like to thank Fred W. Vondracek for his valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adolescence
  • Gendered interests
  • Gendered skills
  • Middle childhood
  • Occupational outcomes
  • Young adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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