Expanding Women’s Participation in STEM: Insights From Parallel Measures of Self-Efficacy and Interests

Nikki A. Falk, Patrick J. Rottinghaus, Tracy N Casanova, Fred H. Borgen, Nancy E. Betz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Despite social cognitive and cultural barriers, women continue to consider and declare science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors. Research suggests that both self-efficacy and interest are necessary to approach a career goal; however, women in STEM report lower interest and confidence compared to their male counterparts. Using integrative career profiles of 448 potential and declared STEM majors, we investigated Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional thresholds of self-efficacy and interest among women and men using the career and personality assessments integrative online system. Results indicated gender as a moderator for the Realistic threshold, where women have a lower threshold for approaching and declaring a STEM major compared with men. Women in this sample showed similar levels of Investigative self-efficacy and interests compared with men. This study adds to prior literature investigating people–thing orientations among men and women in STEM. These results may be utilized in broadening female participation in STEM and alleviating underrepresentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-584
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Career Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • STEM majors
  • interest
  • self-efficacy
  • underrepresentation
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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