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So Many Changes Happening All at Once: Investigating First-year College Students’ Academic and Social Self-efficacy, Perceived Stress, and Career Development Behaviors During the Adjustment to College Using Social Cognitive Career Theory
The first year of college is a time of transition in multiple domains for students. It is noteworthy that adjusting to college in the academic and social domains, and its resulting stress, do not occur in a vacuum and may contribute to students’ career development behaviors (Lent et al., 2016). The purpose of this study was to expand the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent et al., 1994) to include elements of academic and social self-efficacy and perceived stress when examining the career development behaviors of first-year students in their first semester of college. Previous researchers have suggested that in times of transition such as the first year of college, the domain-specificity hypothesis of SCCT may not hold true and multiple domains of self-efficacy may be related to one another. The present study examined relationships between academic and social self-efficacy, perceived stress, career exploration and decisional self-efficacy, career decision-making outcome expectations, and career explorations intentions using a path model analysis. Results yielded an adequate fitting model and supported most hypotheses including the significant, negative associations between academic and social self-efficacy with stress and significant positive relationship between academic and social self-efficacy with career exploration and decisional self-efficacy. Career exploration and decisional self-efficacy was also found to be significantly related to career decision-making outcome expectations. Only career decision-making outcome expectations was found to be positively related to career exploration intentions. Contrary to the hypothesis, perceived stress was not found to be related to career exploration and decisional self-efficacy. Overall, results from the study indicate career-related self-efficacy is related to self-efficacy in academic and social domains for first-year students, but the two are not related through the experience of perceived stress. Lack of self-efficacy in academic and social domains does contribute to perceived stress. Further, results of the study indicate career decision-making outcome expectations among first-year college students is related to their career exploration behaviors. This finding is contrary to the SCCT model, and suggests that for first-year students, outcome expectations for the career exploration process may be more important to capitalize on than their self-efficacy in career exploration behaviors.
Johnson, Sutha K, "So Many Changes Happening All at Once: Investigating First-year College Students’ Academic and Social Self-efficacy, Perceived Stress, and Career Development Behaviors During the Adjustment to College Using Social Cognitive Career Theory" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI22588106.