Study: Women Leaving STEM Due to Depression, Unhappiness

Toni Airaksinen
Campus Reform
Jul. 26, 2018

A new study has discovered that depression, rather than sexism or discrimination, is driving women’s desire to leave STEM fields.

“In terms of reported work engagement, depression, perfectionistic discrepancy, and stigma consciousness were significant negative predictors, while having perfectionistic high standards positively predicted work engagement,” the abstract reports, adding that “for work engagement, lack of comparable pay was a nonsignificant predictor.”

The study led by Department of Veteran Affairs Researcher Erin Reilly, “The Relationship Among Stigma, Consciousness, Perfectionism, and Mental Health in Retaining Women in STEM,” was published in the newest issue of the Journal of Career Development.

The work sought to shed light on the mass exodus of women from STEM. As Reilly and her team note, previous research has shown that 52 percent of women leave STEM mid-career to stay at home or to join other fields.

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