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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimer: 1072-8325
ISSN En ligne: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v7.i3.50
28 pages

PROBLEM SOLVING IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES AND EARLY ADOLESCENT GIRLS' GENDER ROLES AND SELF-ESTEEM: A QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS FROM AN ECOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE

Michael Slavkin
School of Education and Human Services, University of Southern Indiana, 8600 University Boulevard, Evansville, IN 47712

RÉSUMÉ

What impact do gender roles and self-esteem have on early adolescent girls' abilities to solve problems when participating in natural science-related activities? Bronfenbrenner's human ecology model and Barker's behavior setting theory were used to assess how environmental contexts relate to problem solving in scientific contexts. These models also provided improved methodology and increased understanding of these constructs when compared with prior research. Early adolescent girls gender roles and self-esteem were found to relate to differences in problem solving in science-related groups. Specifically, early adolescent girls' gender roles were associated with levels of verbal expression, expression of positive affect, dominance, and supportive behavior during science experiments. Also, levels of early adolescent girls self-esteem were related to verbal expression and dominance in peer groups. Girls with high self-esteem also were more verbally expressive and had higher levels of dominance during science experiments. The dominant model of a masculine-typed and feminine-typed dichotomy of problem solving based on previous literature was not effective in Identifying differences within girls' problem solving. Such differences in the results of these studies may be the result of this study's use of observational measures and analysis of the behavior settings in which group members participated. Group behavior and problem-solving approaches of early adolescent girls seemed most likely to be defined by environmental contexts, not governed solely by the personalities of participants. A discussion for the examination of environmental factors when assessing early adolescent girls' gender roles and self-esteem follows this discussion.


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