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Caribbean Journal of Education

Gender Differences in Role Models and Academic Functioning Among Jamaican High School Students

Publication Date: 
April 2007

There have been concerns among Jamaican scholars that students' role models (RMs) contribute to gender differences in academic functioning in Jamaica. The current study empirically investigated gender differences in the RMs of 269 fifth form traditional high school students in Jamaica and relations between RM choice and academic attitudes, goals and achievement. Using mixed qualitative/quantitative research methods, nine categories of RMs emerged. Consistent with international research findings, parents were by far the most frequently selected RMs. As predicted, most students had gender-matched RMs and more boys reported celebrity RMs. Having a celebrity/glamorized RM or a very distant RM was related to poorer academic functioning for both boys and girls; however, having a gender-mismatched RM was not. Findings are discussed in the context of North American research on students’ RMs and gender socialization in the Caribbean.

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