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The role of parental STEM-supportive behaviours in formation of children's STEM career interest

Šimunović, Mara; Babarović, Toni
The role of parental STEM-supportive behaviours in formation of children's STEM career interest // XVI European Congress of Psychology
Moskva, Rusija, 2019. (predavanje, međunarodna recenzija, neobjavljeni rad, znanstveni)

The role of parental STEM-supportive behaviours in formation of children's STEM career interest

Šimunović, Mara ; Babarović, Toni

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Sažeci sa skupova, neobjavljeni rad, znanstveni

XVI European Congress of Psychology

Mjesto i datum
Moskva, Rusija, 02-05.07.2019

Vrsta sudjelovanja

Vrsta recenzije
Međunarodna recenzija

Ključne riječi
STEM, vocational interests, parental support, middle school children

According to many vocational theories parental support has an important role in children’s career development. It seems that parental behaviours can shape, increase, or modify children’s interests and steer their educational and vocational pathways. The aim of this study was to examine to what extent parental STEM-related behaviours can influence children’s vocational interest toward STEM occupations and activities. We measured parental STEM encouragement, parental STEM modelling behaviours, and parental provision of STEM materials as the predictors of children’s interest in STEM. The parental self-reported behaviour measures were collected around 15 months before we assessed children’s interests. The study encompasses 501 last-grade middle school children (age 14) and one of their parents. The results indicated a two-dimensional structure of the construct of children's STEM interests. The first dimension was related to interest in the science- mathematics professional domain, while the second domain was related to interest in the engineering-technology domain. We examined the predictive power of parental behaviours for both of these interest factors, while controlling for children’s last-year school achievement in STEM subjects. We also examined the moderating effects of child’s gender on the observed regression paths. The results showed that parental behaviours were not significant predictors of students’ interest in engineering-technology professional domain. However, parental behaviours had predicative contribution in explaining students’ interest in science-mathematics professional domain, even after controlling for students’ previous STEM school achievement. It was shown that in case of boys these interests were predicted by parental STEM encouragement and in case of girls by parental provision of STEM materials. Parents’ modelling of STEM- related activities did not show to have a contribution in explaining children’s interests, even after we took child’s gender into account. Parental behaviours explained up to around 8 % of variance in children’s STEM interest. The role of parental behaviour in formation of children’s vocational interests is discussed, and general findings were compared to those specific for STEM area. The importance of gender sensitive parental support in STEM educational and vocational field was accentuated.

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Znanstvena područja


Projekt / tema
HRZZ IP-09-2014-9250

Institut društvenih znanosti Ivo Pilar, Zagreb