Thumbnail Image

Male and female: Career development of African American college athletes and non-athletes

Alexander, Jamie Dowdy
Tendency to foreclose on careers, vocational exploration, and career commitment were examined in relationship to racial-ethnic socialization, parental responsiveness, and career-related verbal encouragement and emotional support among 228 African American male and female college athletes and non-athletes. A number of tests were conducted to test for significant group differences in central variables and the associations of parenting variables and racial-ethnic socialization with tendency to foreclose, vocational exploration, and career commitment. Parent education and academic year were controlled for in almost all analyses. No significant gender or athlete group differences were found in the total number of major-related careers reported, emotional support, or in tendency to foreclose, vocational exploration, or career commitment. African American male athletes indicated a pursuit of a professional career path almost five times more than African American female athletes did (60% vs. 13%). Being both female and an athlete was associated with higher parental responsiveness. The associations of facets of racial-ethnic socialization with career development varied by gender and athlete status. Career-related verbal encouragement from parents was the most consistent significant predictor in the regression analyses and appeared to be the best way that parents can influence their children's career development as racial-ethnic socialization became non-significant in predicting career development after controlling for verbal encouragement. Academic year was also consistently significant and positive in its relation to career development. Findings are discussed and implications for parents and educators are provided.