Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Melanie Leuty

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Emily Bullock-Yowell

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Jon Mandracchia

Committee Member 3 Department



Contextual (e.g. job fit, job involvement), individual (e.g. job satisfaction, need for achievement), and demographic (e.g. gender, educational level) factors have been related to forms of career commitment (i.e. affective, continuance, and normative commitment), highlighting that the commitment one feels toward his or her career is a complex variable. Furthermore, commitment has been associated with intent to remain within a profession or organization (Bowling, Beehr, & Lepisto, 2006; Den Hartog & Belschak, 2007; Duffy, Dik, & Steger, 2011; Goulet & Singh, 2002), suggesting that commitment is an important component of retention within a career. Correspondingly, commitment to one's academic major may also provide information about retention within a university. However, relatively little research has examined the topic of major commitment. The purpose of the current study was to examine contextual, individual, and demographic factors that have been previously related to career commitment as they were assumed to also predict major commitment, using a sample of 316 undergraduate students to study this issue. Results indicated that subjective fit, major involvement, and need for achievement were significant, positive predictors of affective commitment. Ethnicity, major involvement, university commitment, and objective fit significantly predicted continuance commitment. Ethnicity, major involvement, and university commitment were predictive of increased normative commitment. The three forms of commitment were significantly predictive of intention to quit with affective commitment being a significant negative predictor and continuance commitment being a significant positive predictor.

Doctoral dissertation: