Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Child Development


Sociological trends indicate that as more parents enter the work force, increasing numbers of children and families become involved with early childhood professionals. Little is known about the perceived occupational worth of these workers. Early childhood professionals' perception of their own and their peers' occupational worth, as measured by responses on the Occupational Worth Inventory (OWI) and career-pattern profiled were investigated;Data were collected from 104 family day care providers, 26 group day care providers, 101 day care center teachers, 26 Head Start Teachers, and 95 nursery school teachers. Results of Friedman's rank-order analyses of variance on job pay, job status, and job value were supportive of two major conclusions. First, subjects varied in statistically significant ways in their views about which occupation within the early childhood profession should command the most pay or derive the greatest social status. Second, for job value a positional trend indicated nursery school teaching was most valued followed by group day care home providing, day care center teaching, family day care providing, and Head Start teaching;Analyses of variance on the ratings by group of occupations predominantly held by male workers, female workers, and teachers yielded statistically significant group differences. Nearly one-half (46.8%) of survey respondents reported career pattern profiles which ended in non-career jobs;Results indicated that early childhood professionals varied in perceptions of their own and peers' occupational worth as measured by responses to items on the OWI. Lack of consensus on job worth, professionalism, and support systems for occupational choice suggested that the early childhood profession is fragmented and multi-focused.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

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Pauline Davey Zeece



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94 pages