A Longitudinal Application of the Theory of Reasoned Action to Women's Career Behavior1


  • 1

    This study was submitted by the senior author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts at UCLA. An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 1993. Collection of the 1973 data was supported by National Science Foundation grant GS27422 to Zick Rubin. Collection of the 1987 follow-up data was supported by grants to Charles T. Hill from the Haynes Foundation and Whittier College, and by a University Research Grant from UCLA to Letitia Anne Peplau. We wish to thank Peter Bentler, Khanh Bui, Judy Stein, and Jodie Ullman for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Paula C. Vincent or Letitia Anne Peplau, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563.


Based on the theory of reasoned action (TRA; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), we hypothesized that young women's career intentions would be predicted by their gender-role attitudes and perceptions of their boyfriends' and parents' career-related preferences for them. Career intention was expected to predict future career behavior. The model was tested using longitudinal data from 105 women studied in 1973 and followed up 14 years later in 1987. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Results supported the TRA: women's gender-role attitudes and their perceptions of important others' preferences predicted their career intentions, which predicted career behavior 14 years later. Implications for the study of women's careers and the longitudinal application of the TRA are discussed.