Original Articles

Occupational Interests and Aspirations of Rural Black South African Children: Considerations for Theory, Research and Practice

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 21, issue 3, 2011 , pages: 413–420
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2011.10820475
Author(s): Mark WatsonNelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa, Mary McMahonThe University of Queensland, Australia, Paul LongeNelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa


There has been limited international and South African research on the career development of rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged children. The present research provides baseline information on the career development of rural, low socioeconomic status, Black upper elementary school children (N = 292; 154 girls and 138 boys) in relation to their occupational interests and aspirations. Interests and aspirations were classified in terms of Holland's typology and status level. The results revealed that the children were more interested in and aspired more towards professional status level occupations in Social (i.e., people) and Investigative (i.e., scientific) type categories. Several significant gender differences were found. Girls aspired more to Social type occupations and boys more to Investigative type occupations, with the children's occupational aspirations reflecting gender traditionality. The implications of the present findings present the field with challenges in terms of career theory, research and practice

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