Factors affecting science-related attitudes in academically talented youth

Kristen Renee Stephens

Abstract

The present study was designed to examine the relationship between the criterion variables of science-related attitudes and the predictor variables of gender, self-concept, ethnic origin, mother's occupation, father's occupation, socioeconomic status, and achievement in academically talented students. One hundred and sixty-seven students in grades 11 and 12 from a residential math and science high school in Alabama were administered the Test of Science-Related Attitudes (TOSRA; Fraser, 1981), the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale (Piers & Harris, 1969), and a general information questionnaire. Multiple linear regression consisting of canonical correlation, semi-partial correlation, and Manova were used to test the hypotheses of this study. Results indicate that students had favorable attitudes towards science. Significant interactions were found between gender and achievement for the Adoption of Scientific Attitude subtest with high achieving females having more favorable attitudes on this variable followed by low achieving males. Additionally, significant interactions were found between self-concept and achievement and between mother's occupation and father's occupation on the Attitude Toward Normality of Scientists subtest. High achievers with high self-concept obtained the highest scores while low achievers with low self-concept obtained the lowest scores on the Attitude Toward Normality of Scientist subtest. Subjects with fathers and mothers in science occupations obtained the highest scores on the Attitude Toward Normality of Scientist subtest while subjects with a father in a nonscience occupation and a mother in a science occupation obtained the lowest scores. The lowest scores were found in Leisure Interest in Science regardless of gender, self-concept, ethnic origin, mother's occupation, father's occupation, socioeconomic status, or achievement.