Examining relationships between chemistry anxiety, chemistry identity, and chemistry career choice in terms of gender: a comparative study using multigroup structural equation modelling
Although there are numerous chemistry-related careers within the STEM fields, chemistry-related careers are not well regarded. High school is a critical time for developing students’ career choices. Previous studies suggest that anxiety and identity may be predictors of career choice. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of high school students’ chemistry anxiety (learning anxiety and test anxiety) and chemistry identity (competence/performance beliefs, interest, external recognition, and holistic impression on identity) on chemistry career choices. Guided by the possibility of different hindrances to chemistry career choice for males and females, the study further detected gender-specific patterns of relations between variables. The results of multigroup structural equation modeling firstly showed that different constructs of chemistry identity were positive and significant predictors of chemistry career choice but varied by gender. Specifically, competence/performance beliefs and holistic impression on identity were significantly associated with females’ chemistry career choices. In contrast, interest, external recognition, and holistic impression on identity motivated males’ chemistry career choices. Secondly, the effects of chemistry learning anxiety and test anxiety on chemistry career choice were completely mediated by chemistry identity, whereas the pathways and strength of mediation differed between females and males.