Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

The Effects of Perceived Barriers, Role Models, and Acculturation on the Career Self-Efficacy and Career Consideration of Hispanic Women

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

The Effects of Perceived Barriers, Role Models, and Acculturation on the Career Self-Efficacy and Career Consideration of Hispanic Women

Article excerpt

This study used path analysis to examine the relationship between perceived barriers, acculturation, and role model influence on the career self-efficacy and career considerations of a sample of Hispanic women. Two path models were examined. The male-dominated model accounted for 15% of the variance, and the female-dominated model accounted for 26% of the variance. No relationship was found between the variables of interest and male-dominated career self-efficacy and consideration. However, perceived barriers were related to female-dominated career consideration and Anglo acculturation significantly contributed to female-dominated career self-efficacy. Results are discussed with regard to career practice and research with Hispanic women.

In 2004, more than 50% of Hispanic women older than 16 years of age were employed outside of the home, the majority (more than 60%) in low-paung jobs (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004) that öfter little opportunity for advancement (e.g., sales and service). These statistics are of particular concern when one considers that, in 2002, 20.8% of Hispanic families lived below the poverty level and that, for households headed by single women, the rate was 36.4% ( Proctor & Dalaker, 2003). As the Hispanic population in the United States continues to grow, the employment trends of Hispanic women raise serious concerns about the socioeconomic health of the Hispanic family. Although greater attention has recently been focused on the career development of Hispanics (e.g., Arbona, 1990; Flores & Obasi, 2005; McWhirter, Hackett, & Bandalos, 1998), there is a need to locus on the career considerations of women in particular to understand the factors influencing their career decision making and to broaden the range of careers they are willing to consider.

Social cognitive career theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) offers a useful framework for examining the factors that influence Hispanic women's career considerations. Building on Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory and Hackett and Betz's (1981) extension of self-efficacy theory into the career domain. Lent et al. (1994) expanded the concept of self-efficacy in the context of a conceptual model in which career development is viewed as a process that incorporates a person's cognitive processes, environment, and contextual factors. Of particular interest within this framework is the construet of career self-efficacy and the influence of contextual variables (e.g., perceived barriers, acculturation, role model) on the formation of self-efficacy beliefs and career considerations. According to SCCT, contextual variables can have an indirect influence on self-efficacy and goals as background variables as well as a direct influence at the point in which decisions are made as proximal variables. By gaining a better understanding of the factors that influence Hispanic women's career-related behaviors, specifically self-efficacy and career consideration, interventions can be identified to enhance and broaden the career options that they consider. This study examined the relationship of several contextual variables on Hispanic women's career self-efficacy and career consideration.

Self-efficacy has received extensive attention and support in the literature as it relates to career development and academic and career decision making among women and students of color (Bvars, 1997; Flores & O'Brien, 2002; Gainor & Lent, 1998; Schaefers, Epperson, & Nauta, 1997; Tang, Fouad, & Smith, 1999). One study indicated that, after ability, math and science self-efficacy accounted for the largest significant co/itribution to identifying male and female college students who continued to pursue engineering as a major (Schaefers et al., 1997). Byars provided support for the relationships between racial/ethnic identity, self-efficacy, and career consideration for a sample of African American college women. …

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