Sociology ETDs

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In a secondary analysis of data from The CPS 1974 American National Election Study the effects of sex on sense of political efficacy were tested. High political efficacy was defined by disagreement with the statement, ''Sometimes politics and government seem so complicated that a person like me can't really understand what is going on.” In the overall sample men were somewhat more likely than women to exhibit high political efficacy. Single controls for education, employment, occupational rank, presence of children in the home and their ages when they are present, region, social class, respondent age, and marital status generally revealed the same sex differences as in the whole sample. It was only in some conditional associations that sex differences became significantly altered, showing either equal or greater political efficacy among women compared to men. Two basic conditions produced these conditional associations--when there were simultaneous controls for (1) employment, region, and presence or ages of children, and (2) education and presence or ages of children.

The value of demographic characteristics as indicators of sex differences in political efficacy was questioned. It was only by imputing differential meanings to women and men of these characteristics that interpretation of the findings could proceed. Interpretation centered around traditional sex roles and the loci of changes in them, social integration, self-esteem and confidence, and goal attainment.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Frieda Lillian Gehlen

Second Committee Member

Arthur St. George

Third Committee Member

Harold Charles Meier



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