Peer influences on gender differences in educational aspiration and attainment

Richard Fabes, Sarah Hayford, Erin Pahlke, Carlos Santos, Kristina Zosuls, Carol Martin, Laura Hanish

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


Abstract A considerable amount of research has documented that the career and academic aspirations and choices of children and adolescents are gender-typed. In general, boys and girls have different career aspirations and career choices, although girls are more flexible in their choices. The purpose of our chapter is to highlight a relatively under-represented source of influence on the development of gendered career aspirations and attainment: the role of peers and peer-related processes. In this chapter, we begin with an overview of key gender gaps in educational-related behaviors, attitudes, and goals. We then discuss some of the literature and guiding theory on peer influences that contribute to educational aspirations and achievement and how this body of research has often overlooked gender differences. We also present new evidence from preschool and elementary school children that identifies some of the gender-based influences peers have on educational and occupational achievement, interests, and attainment. We argue that the gender-segregated nature of children’s peer interactions that develops across childhood and adolescence sets the stage for many of the gender differences in attitudes, beliefs, motivations, and behaviors that contribute to gender differences in aspirations and choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGender Differences in Aspirations and Attainment
Subtitle of host publicationA Life Course Perspective
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781139128933
ISBN (Print)9781107021723
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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