Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Janelle McDaniel


The field of engineering continues to have significantly fewer women engineers than men. Engineering has long been considered to be a male dominated career, with fewer women receiving bachelor's degrees in engineering and gaining employment in the engineering field. The present study was an attempt to determine influencing factors that discourage women from pursuing engineering as an educational and career choice. The current study examined gender role conflict, self-efficacy, and fear of failure as potential factors influencing women's preferences to pursue an engineering degree. Both male and female genders were participants in the research to determine gender differences for these factors. All participants were students majoring in the engineering discipline. In the current study, the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS), the Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory (PFAI), and The Longitudinal Assessment of Engineering Self-Efficacy (LAESE) were analyzed. An additional instrument was designed to rate potential engineering student applicants based on their individual qualities and attributes that are important for successful engineers. Results indicated that females reported higher incidence of fear for their future in the engineering field, fear of being embarrassed or shamed in front of others, and fear of self-devaluation regarding their capabilities as an engineer. Results also indicated males reported higher levels of self-efficacy for mathematics in regard to their skill and abilities as engineers. There was no support for hypotheses that predicted females would be rated less desirably as future engineers based upon their gender, skills, and capabilities.