Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Paul M. Muchinsky


The movement of women into the labor force has sparked a wide variety of research topics, but the movement of women into traditionally male-dominated careers has not been thoroughly investigated. While most research in this area has tended to focus upon females' occupational interest, there exists a need to address the adjustment of women to these nontraditional careers after they have obtained the position. The primary purpose of this study was to identify a number of life experiences and personal characteristics that are related to women's adjustment and perceived success in nontraditional careers. The sample consisted of 134 women from traditional and nontraditional occupations in an academic setting. These women completed the Career Adjustment and Success Questionnaire (developed by the author) which contained scales assessing such life experiences as socioeconomic status, past social support, current social support, level of independence, as well as the personal characteristic of sex role orientation. The Bem Sex Role Inventory (Bem, 1981) was also used as a measure of sex role orientation. A wide variety of demographic information was gathered and potential moderators were identified from these data (e.g., marital status, age cohort, and number of children in the home). The survey constructed for this research was found to be both reliable and discriminating;Specific predictors were discovered to account for 21 percent of the variance in adjustment and 21 percent of the variance in success (when adjustment was included as a predictor). Social support (Current Social Support and Spouse Support) and sex role orientation (Femininity and Androgyny) were found to be particularly influential. The results of a series of discriminant analyses supported the discriminating properties of the predictor variables for purposes of classifying traditional and nontraditional career women by their levels of adjustment, perceived success, and the traditionality of their careers. This study identified a means of predicting how well certain women may adjust and at what level they may succeed in nontraditional careers. The findings suggest and support the utility of using life history information, current experiences, and sex role orientation to predict the adjustment and success of women in traditional and nontraditional careers.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Anne Cooper Berland



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

135 pages