Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD; Robert L. Infantino, EdD; Robert E. Nelson, EdD


adolescents, career planning, case study, ethnically-diverse, future life planning, girls, intellectually-gifted, minority & ethnic groups


With the exception of a few Asian-American women, there continues to be fewer women from ethnically-diverse cultures in high status careers. Yet little is known about the specific variables which affect the life planning and future aspirations of young, gifted black, Hispanic and Pan/Asian women. Studies conducted and reported have focused primarily on white, middle-class adolescents or college students. The importance of this study is the addition to the sparse amount of existing literature related to the influences affecting the future life planning of the intellectually-gifted, ethnically-diverse, adolescent female. The purpose of this case study was to examine and assess cultural influences as transmitted by the parents and community and as perceived by the intellectually-gifted black, Pan/Asian and Hispanic-American adolescent female. The seven questions designed to guide this research included an exploration of the girls' perceptions of the parent-daughter relationship, the extent of the parent-daughter interaction relative to career choice, whether career goals were clearly defined, the girl's perception of herself and her ability to pursue a career commensurate with her ability, and other influences perceived by the girl as affecting career choice/future life planning. The sample consisted of fourteen black, twenty Hispanic, and seventeen Pan/Asian-American girls attending seventh or eighth grade in San Diego County. Quantitative data were obtained through a fifty-one item questionnaire designed by the researcher. Qualitative data were obtained through group interviews with 20 percent of the sample population. Statistical treatment of the data were completed through chi-square analysis of selected questionnaire items. Interview responses were discussed qualitatively and a composite of the black, Hispanic and Pan/Asian-American sample subjects was drawn. Findings of the study included: 1) the girls had high occupational aspirations but career goals were not clearly defined; 2) the majority of the girls did not know the requirements needed to reach their particular goals; 3) the girls perceived their parents as being generally supportive of what they wanted to do, although the Pan/Asian parents strongly indicated their desire for the daughters to select medically-related careers, while the black parents stressed the importance of having at least a college degree; 4) Hispanic parents were more affiliative than directive; 5) double messages from parents about the importance of a career but the importance of remaining at home if the girls married; 6) double messages from the community about the equality of men arid women in relation to career choice but the girls perceived that, in all reality, men had more options; 7) the Pan/Asian and Hispanic girls cited money and marriage as barriers to career attainment; and 8) peers were perceived as having little effect on career choice. It is hoped that the results of this study will assist parents, teachers and counselors who provide career guidance become more aware of the attitudes, values and perceptions affecting the career choices of gifted Hispanic, Pan/Asian, and black adolescent girls. Limitations and suggestions for career guidance were discussed.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access