Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Chair

Hollie Gabler Filce

Committee Chair Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 2

Alisa Lowrey

Committee Member 2 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 3

Melanie Leuty

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Richard S. Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 5

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 5 Department

Educational Studies and Research


Young adults with disabilities are impacted by the learning experiences they engage in as students that help shape their career development post-high school. Researchers have identified moderate-level transition predictors that improve post-school outcomes in employment, postsecondary education, and/or independent living. This study used the Social Cognitive Career Theory to examine if a relationship exists among race/ethnicity, gender, and disability type and transition predictors among young adults with disabilities in Mississippi who completed high school in May of 2013. Additionally, this study explored whether a relationship existed between career decision self-efficacy and engagement in employment or enrollment in postsecondary education. A school representative reviewed participants’ Individualized Education Program to answer demographic questions and whether or not participants were engaged in transition predictors. Additionally, participants were contacted by phone to answer questions regarding career decision self-efficacy and whether they were engaged in employment or enrolled in postsecondary education. A significant relationship was found among three transition predictors which included number of transition goals completed in a transition program, participation in vocational education courses, and participation in a work study program. No significant relationship was found among transition predictor paid work experience. Additionally, results indicated participants had high to moderate self-

efficacy beliefs. Further, the analysis revealed career decision self-efficacy had a significant impact on both employment and enrollment in postsecondary education. Implications are provided for school districts personnel, special education teachers, and preparation programs for students with disabilities. Recommendation for future research included exploring other factors that may influence whether or not participants are engaged in post-school outcomes and expanding research nationwide.