Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Medcamp's Effect on Junior High School Students' Medical Career Self-Efficacy

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Medcamp's Effect on Junior High School Students' Medical Career Self-Efficacy

Article excerpt

In 1977, Bandura defined self-efficacy as an individual's belief that she or he can successfully perform a behavior. Hackett and Betz (1981) brought this concept into career psychology by defining career self-efficacy as the belief in one's ability to pursue a given career. Career self-efficacy seems especially salient given educators' growing concern about students' diminished interest and performance in mathematics and science courses. Betz and Hackett (1983) reported that mathematics self-efficacy related significantly to choice of math-related college majors. In addition, Lent and colleagues (1986) reported that students who believed they could master course work required for entry into technical or scientific occupations received higher grades than did students with less confidence, and they also demonstrated greater persistence in achieving their career goals.

Bandura (1986) described four antecedents to self-efficacy. Performance accomplishments, the most powerful antecedent, has as modes of induction participant modeling, performance desensitization, performance sure, and self-instructed performance. Vicarious experience has as modes of induction live modeling and symbolic modeling. Verbal persuasion has as modes of induction suggestion, exhortation, self-instruction, and interpretive treatments. Emotional arousal has as modes of induction attribution, relaxation or biofeedback, symbolic desensitization, and symbolic exposure (Bandura, 1977). Individuals learn about their potential success in a particular career through these four means. For example, if Sally has had no opportunity to work with mechanical tasks herself (performance accomplishments) or to observe others accomplishing such tasks (vicarious experience), she is unlikely to develop the career self-efficacy required for her to expect success as a mechanic.

A student's sense of self-efficacy about a career yields three important results: choice of activities related to the field, performance of activities necessary to that choice, and persistence in the face of obstacles (Betz, 1992; Betz & Hackett, 1981; Lent, Brown, & Larkin, 1984). Betz explained how the three behavioral outcomes of self-efficacy operate in the domain of career behavior. Choice means that an individual will choose or avoid a given career option. In the previous example, Sally (a woman) would probably avoid a career in mechanics (a traditionally male-dominated career). Performance relates to doing well (because John has high math self-efficacy, he experiences no test anxiety and therefore performs well) as opposed to doing poorly (because Mary has low math self-efficacy, she experiences great test anxiety and therefore performs poorly). Persistence means one's continued efforts despite obstacles. To continue the previous example about John and Mary, John's high math self-efficacy leads him to take more math classes even when the courses become more difficult; Mary's low math self-efficacy leads her to avoid further math classes, especially when "math-seeking" behavior goes unrewarded because of her sex.

The aforementioned gender-related examples emphasize an early concern about career self-efficacy. Hackett and Betz (1981) wrote that gender role socialization strongly influences how women and men experience the four antecedents to career self-efficacy, and therefore strongly influences the three outcomes of career self-efficacy. Several studies support the effect of gender role socialization on career self-efficacy. For example, Betz and Hackett (1981) reported that college men's career self-efficacy remained the same both for traditionally male occupations and for traditionally female occupations. In contrast, college women had higher career self-efficacy for traditionally female occupations and lower career self-efficacy for traditionally male occupations. Betz and Hackett (1983) reported that math self-efficacy related to choice of science-based college major. …

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