The primary purpose of this study is to identify any value patterns existent among undergraduate family and consumer sciences education majors. The overall goal is to use this new information to identify students who have compatible values with the profession. A sample of 111 (age 18-50) undergraduate family and consumer sciences students from Illinois, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Washington, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania completed a four-part survey about their own personal values. The data was analyzed according to the participants’ university and age group (traditional/non-traditional age status).
Previous literature on family and consumer sciences students found them to lean toward more religious and social values. The professional organizations that relate to this area all highlight values that focus on families, societal improvement, healthy lifestyles, career, leadership, and advocacy in their purpose and mission statements. According to UCLA’s annual survey of incoming freshman, the average college student is becoming less religious and more concerned with wealth, social power, and status.
The results of the study support the hypothesis in that values such as family togetherness, religion, and children’s welfare were ranked higher than values relating to money, power, and status. Family togetherness was the highest ranked value in each part of the survey and among the different groups of participants. This survey also identified values that were ranked lower by most of the family and consumer sciences education students, such as beauty, influence, technological advances, variety, courage, and being an advocate for public policy. The results were consistent with previous research on the values of family and consumer sciences majors, and with some of the key values of the related professional organizations; while being significantly different from the values of the general college student group.
There is a need for additional research to be done on the values of family and consumer sciences students. More research comparing different groups, educational levels, and academic majors is necessary to truly understand the values of this profession. This and future research needs to be used to develop an alluring campaign in order to attract potential students whose values are consistent with those who choose this profession.