Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Melanie Leuty

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Emily Yowell

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 4

Ashley Batastini

Committee Member 4 Department



Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) suggests that one’s self-efficacy beliefs, one’s outcome expectations, and salient contextual influences impact the development of interests, goals, and goal-oriented behaviors. Additionally, initial support has been found in the SCCT literature to indicate that outcome expectations may mediate the relationship between self-efficacy and goals while contextual influences may moderate the relationship between self-efficacy and goals. By examining conditional indirect effects between academic self-efficacy, career optimism (an outcome expectation), perceived carrier barriers (a contextual influence), and intention to persist toward graduation (a goal) in a college student sample, this project aimed to further understand how these relationships operate. Furthermore, previous research utilizing SCCT has not examined career optimism as an outcome expectation. Data was collected from 349 undergraduates. Contrary to expectations, the proposed conditional indirect effects model was not supported. While academic self-efficacy significantly predicted persistence intentions, career optimism and perceived career barriers did not also predict persistence intentions. Results suggest that academic self-efficacy and proximal processes related to degree persistence were more salient than distal processes related to degree persistence for students in this sample.