The effects of gender, Greek status, and gender ideology on life goals among undergraduates

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Deborah A. Abowitz
David Knox


A stratified random sample of 154 undergraduates at a primarily undergraduate liberal arts institution voluntarily completed a confidential survey questionnaire ranking 19 life goals. Analyses revealed significant overall differences in the relative value placed on life goals both by gender and by Greek status (between members of sororities/fraternities and Independents). Significant differences between men and women persist when controlling for Greek status. When controlling for gender, however, a gender-specific pattern in Greek/Independent differences appears. Among college men, significant differences in the ranking of life goals exist between Greeks and Independents. In sharp contrast, significant differences between Greeks and Independents disappear among college women. Gender ideology also plays a significant role in the ranking of life goals but does not fully explain or account for the differences noted by gender and/or by Greek status. The implications of these data for campus politics and policies are discussed.

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