The Relationship of Parental Influence on Student Career Choice of Biology and Non-Biology Majors Enrolled in a Freshman Biology Course
Type of DegreeDissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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Recent declines in science literacy and inadequate numbers of individuals entering science careers has heightened the importance of determining why students major in science or do not major in science and then choose a science-related career. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between parental influences and student career choices of both males and females majoring and not majoring in science. This study specifically examined the constructs of parental occupation, parental involvement, and parental education levels. Aspects indicated by the participants as being influencers were also examined. In addition, differences between males and females were examined. A total of 282 students participated in the study; 122 were science majors and 160 were non-science majors. The data was collected through the use of a student information survey and the Modified Fennema-Sherman Attitude Scale. The findings suggest that students indicated the desire to help others, peers, salary, and skills as influencing their career choice. In regard to the various parental influences, mother's occupation was the only construct found as a statistically significant influencer on a student’s decision to major in science. The results of this study can help educators, administrators, and policy makers understand what influences students to pursue science-related careers and possibly increase the number of students entering science-related careers. The results of the study specifically provide information that may prove useful to administrators and educators in the health science fields, particularly nursing fields. The findings provide insight into why students may choose to become nurses.