Personality Differences between Physical Education and Psychology Majors at SUNY Cortland

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Parrish, Kathlyn M.
Miller, Catherine P.
Assertiveness , Sex Roles , Career Paths , Physical Education , Psychology , Correlations , Need For Cognition Scale
The role of assertive tendencies and gender roles in the prediction of career related potential is a connection that has been studied by many researchers and many inventories have been developed to assess these traits. Therefore, it is important that the psychological community continues to study and reevaluate both new potential predictors of career success, and replicate previous studies to verify that findings of the past continue to be sound today with the rapidly changing gender roles. Our study examines two different personality traits that have been shown to influence career path decisions. Two personality tests, which have been shown to be reliable in assessing different aspects of personality are the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) and the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule (RAS). Based on previous research, we hypothesized that students from different majors, who take both the BSRI and the RAS, would have a statistically significant difference in scores. Both tests were administered to 50 SUNY Cortland students (29 Psychology Majors and 21 Physical Education Majors). This study found that the BSRI and the RAS were reliable in evaluating gender roles and assertiveness, respectively. A statistically significant correlation was found between gender roles, masculine and feminine characteristics from the BSRI, and Assertiveness from the RAS [r = .605, p < .01] using the Pearson –Product – Moment Correlation. There were also unexpected findings between scores on the RAS and scores on the Need for Cognition Scale, which warrant further examination.