GENDERED INVESTMENTS IN CAREER AND FAMILY: VALIDATING A MEASURE OF MOTHERHOOD SCHEMAS AMONG UNDERGRADUATE WOMEN
O'Brien, Karen M
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One persistent trend characterizing many work-family arrangements is the tendency for women to invest more heavily in the family sphere compared to men and to compromise career pursuits for their children or partner. Discovering which factors perpetuate these gender-stratified investments in work and family is necessary because, along with investing more in the family, women tend to be concentrated in low-paid, low-prestige occupations. Improving the ability to measure how young women perceive the motherhood role will allow researchers to advance the study of women’s career development. Accordingly, the present study tested, among undergraduate women, the factor structure and psychometric properties of the Meaning of Motherhood Scale, which assesses the ways in which mothers are expected to think, feel, and behave to be seen as “good” mothers. The study found that the Meaning of Motherhood Scale, originally developed with a sample of mothers, did not have the same structure in a sample of undergraduate women, non-mothers. Implications of this finding are discussed. Post-hoc analyses were implemented to explore the factor structure of the Meaning of Motherhood Scale with undergraduate women and a three-factor structure measuring Involvement, Flourishing, and Traditional expectations of mothers was found. Tentative implications of these post-hoc findings, future directions for research, and clinical implications are discussed.