The Relationship Of Maternal Employment And Ethnic Origin To The Sex Role Perception Of Cuban-American And Anglo-American Female Adolescents

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of maternal employment and maternal education on the Cuban-American and Anglo-American female adolescents' perception of their sex role.Procedures. The Attitudes toward Women Scale, the Texas Social Behavior Inventory, the Personal Attributes Questionnaire, and a demographic questionnaire devised by the author were administered to a total of 221 female private Catholic school students of ages 14 to 18 years of mostly middle and upper socioeconomic levels.Findings. (1) The daughters of Anglo-American employed mothers had a significantly more liberal perception of the female sex role, with regard to their attitudes toward the rights and roles of women in society, than the daughters of Anglo-American unemployed mothers or the daughters of Cuban-American employed and unemployed mothers, thus supporting an interaction effect between maternal employment and ethnic origin. (2) No substantial evidence was found to support a relationship between maternal employment or ethnic origin and the daughters' personality characteristics of masculinity and femininity. (3) The Cuban-American daughters are more likely to aspire a combination of employment, marriage, and children than the Anglo-American daughters, who stated a preference to discontinue employment once their first child was born. (4) The Anglo-American daughters were more likely to aspire to employment and a single life than the Cuban-American daughters. (5) The Cuban-American daughters did not differ significantly from the Anglo-American daughters with regard to future educational aspirations. (6) No significant differences were found between the groups of daughters of employed and unemployed mothers with regard to their future educational aspirations. (7) No substantial evidence was found to support a relationship among the variables maternal employment, maternal education, and ethnic origin and the daughters' social self-esteem.Discussion and Suggestions. Although both Cuban-American and Anglo-American female adolescents were found to be relatively liberal with regard to their sex role perceptions, the Anglo-American daughters of employed mothers held the most profeminist attitudes toward the rights and roles of women. On the other hand, the Cuban-Americans aspired to employment even after marriage and children, in contrast to the Anglo-Americans who most frequently aspired to discontinue employment once their first child was born. The evidence gathered in this study suggests that Cuban-American adolescet daughters of upper and middle socioeconomic levels are less traditionally feminine and more oriented toward outside employment than their cultural values would indicate. At the same time, they also manifest beliefs that are consistent with the Cuban traditional value system, such as the importance of marriage and motherhood as essential aspects of the role of women.The following areas are suggested for further research: (1) an investigation of the relationship of maternal employment, maternal education, and ethnic origin on the female adolescents' perception of their sex role with a more representative sample of the population in order to investigate how adolescents of other socioeconomic levels are influenced by these variables. (2) an examination of the relationship between maternal employment and the female adolescents' social self-esteem taking into account the mother's attitude toward her work since this appears to have an important effect on the daughter's social self-esteem. (3) the study of Cuban-American and Anglo-American male adolescents' perception of the female sex role in order to determine if there are any differences between the two ethnic groups, as well as to compare how males and females perceive the female sex role. (4) further exploration of the conflicts women may experience as a result of confusing and contradictory expectations regarding their role in society.


Education, Guidance and Counseling

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