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How women's calling for science careers relates to psychological predictors of persistence in science




Reed, Kaitlyn A., author
Dik, Bryan J., advisor
Henry, Kim, committee member
Bloodhart, Brittany, committee member
Chavez, Ernest, committee member
Fischer, Emily, committee member

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Society is lacking numbers and diversity of trained scientists to address important key problems. Undergraduate women have been identified as a group that leaves the science-career pipeline at high rates (NSF, 2015), though researchers have highlighted science self-efficacy, identity, values, and intentions, as critical predictors of their persistence (Estrada et al., 2011). The current study proposes and investigates a new predictor of women's persistence in science: perceiving a calling as a scientist. Perceiving a calling predicts career development tasks and outcomes that are similar to known predictors of women's persistence in science (Hirschi, 2012). The present study explores if and how calling as a scientist relates to undergraduate women's science self-efficacy, identity as a scientist, interest in science, scientific community values, and intentions to pursue science. Bivariate correlations suggest perceiving a calling as a scientist is positively related to undergraduate women's science self-efficacy, identity as a scientist, prosocial values of the scientific community, and intentions to pursue science. Using Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) as a framework, the hypothesis that the relationship between perceiving a calling as a scientist and intentions to pursue science is mediated by science self-efficacy and science identity (respectively) was supported. Explanations and implications of all investigated relationships are discussed. This study establishes calling as a new predictor, and SCCT as useful framework, for continued investigation of women's persistence in science.


2018 Fall.
Includes bibliographical references.

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social cognitive career theory
women in STEM careers


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