Studying entrepreneurial occupations in the Terman women

Int J Psychol. 2019 Apr;54(2):164-173. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12450. Epub 2017 Jul 16.


To achieve a better understanding of entrepreneurship development in women, longitudinal data on 672 individuals collected from 1922 to 1959 were analysed in a secondary investigation of the Terman Longitudinal Study. Women's reports on their occupations during 10 different years were assigned to one of two categories: work for pay (0/1), and work allowing for self-employment (0/1) in the respective year. Structural equation modelling supported earlier results concerning male entrepreneurial activity. Personality and aspects of the parenting context the women had experienced by the average age of 12 predicted early entrepreneurial competencies (inventions, leadership) and occupational interests by age 13, which related to an entrepreneurship-related career goal in 1936, when the participants were about 27 years of age on average. Such a career goal in turn predicted a higher number of occasions of entrepreneurship-prone work. Surprisingly, we also found a relationship to divorce. Women who had experienced the failure of a marriage were in occupations with a potential for entrepreneurship more often. Reasons are discussed against a backdrop of historical timing and current findings to identify general aspects of entrepreneurship development.

Keywords: Career development; Creative class; Entrepreneurship; Positive youth development; Prospective longitudinal study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Entrepreneurship / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Occupations / standards*