Attachment, Emotional Intelligence and Career Aspirations in Emerging Adulthood

T Cassidy, Lucy McNally

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Women are underrepresented in senior management and leadership positions in OECD countries. The aim of this study was to explore the
relationship between attachment styles, emotional intelligence, and career aspirations of emerging adults with a focus on potential sex differences.
An online survey assessed 508 emerging adults (male= 207) and female= 301), aged between 20 and 25 (M= 22.6, Sd= 1.6), on home background
demographics, adult attachment, emotional intelligence, and career aspirations. Findings show that SES, parental education, positive attachment, and
emotional intelligence are associated with stronger career aspirations. Of note was the finding that while females score higher on educational and
achievement aspirations, males scored higher on leadership aspiration. While further exploration is required this difference in emerging adulthood
may reflect the impact of occupational stereotypes on female expectations and can inform career advice and guidance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages7
JournalIris Journal of Educational Research
Early online date15 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 15 Dec 2023


  • Career aspirations
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Attachment
  • Sex differences


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