Work and Family Identities and Engineering Identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Women are underrepresented in engineering. Furthermore, those who enter engineering fields are less likely than men to persist. Although conflict between work and family roles has been a major explanation for this gender gap, there has been little examination of how work and family identities fit with the engineering identity of undergraduate students preparing for careers in engineering. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between direct and indirect measures of work and family identities and engineering identity among undergraduate students in Thailand. Design/Method: A survey methodology was used to assess work- and family-focused hoped-for and feared possible selves, anticipated conflict between work and family roles, engineering self-concept, and intention to pursue engineering professionally. Regression analyses were used to find relationships among these measures. Results: Findings indicate that women with balanced hoped-for and feared possible selves in both life domains of work and family reported significantly higher engineering self-concept than other women in the study. In addition, the salience of work identity and family identity was significantly and more positively related with engineering identity for women than for men. Conclusion: The findings indicate strong compatibility of family, work, and engineering identities for women who intended to pursue the profession. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings for gender-based equity are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-237
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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