Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Basic Confidence Predictors of Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Basic Confidence Predictors of Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy

Article excerpt

The extent to which Basic Confidence Scales predicted career decision-making self-efficacy was studied in a sample of 627 undergraduate students. Six confidence variables accounted for 49% of the variance in career decision-making self-efficacy. Leadership confidence was the most important, but confidence in science, mathematics, writing, using technology, and cultural sensitivity all contributed significant incremental variance. There were some differences as a function of race and gender, but leadership confidence was the most significant predictor in all subgroups. Implications for educational and career counseling are discussed.

One of the most visible areas of research in career development and counseling today is applications of Bandura's (1977) self-efficacy theory to the understanding and treatment of problems in both personal/social and career development. In particular, there have now been hundreds of studies investigating the importance of self-efficacy (often referred to as confidence) to educational and career development with respect to career-related behaviors. Such behaviors have included mathematics self-efficacy (Lopez, Lent, Brown, & Gore, 1997), self-efficacy for occupational tasks taken from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (Rooney & Osipow, 1992), career decision-making self-efficacy (Luzzo, 1993; Taylor & Popma, 1990), and career search efficacy (Solberg, Good, Fischer, Brown, & Nord, 1995).

Because of its importance to career decision making and career interventions, career decision-making self-efficacy has received probably the most research attention relative to other domains of career behavior. Career decision-making self-efficacy was originally defined by Taylor and Betz (1983) as the individual's belief that he or she can successfully complete tasks necessary to making career decisions. Career decision-making self-efficacy has been measured using the task domains of accurate self-appraisal, gathering occupational information, goal selection, planning, and problem solving. Probably because of its centrality to successful educational and career outcomes, factors related to career decision-making self-efficacy and the design and evaluation of interventions have received extensive attention from researchers (Betz & Luzzo, 1996).

Research indicates that career decision-making self-efficacy is related to other indices of adaptive career decision making. For example, there is ample evidence that career decision-making self-efficacy is inversely related to career indecision (e.g., Bergeron & Romano, 1994; Betz, Klein, & Taylor, 1996; Taylor & Popma, 1990). Career decision-making self-efficacy has also been shown to be related to high versus low vocational identity (Robbins, 1985), more adaptive career beliefs (Luzzo & Day, 1999), fear of career commitment (Betz & Serling, 1993), and career exploratory behavior (Blustein, 1989). Peterson (1993a, 1993b) found that career decision-making self-efficacy was related to academic persistence versus dropout in underprepared college students and that it surpassed all other variables as a predictor of academic and social integration of college students. Other studies have suggested that career decision-making self-efficacy can be increased through verbal persuasion, one of Bandura's postulated four sources of efficacy information (Luzzo & Taylor, 1994), through attributional retraining (Luzzo, Funk, & Strang, 1996) and through a videotaped intervention designed to increase women's perceived career options (Foss & Slaney, 1986).

Bandura's (1977) formulations of self-efficacy theory include the postulate that increases in self-efficacy expectations relative to one domain should generalize, to some degree, to other domains. On the basis of this general statement, it would be possible to postulate statistically significant relationships among domain-specific measures of self-efficacy. …

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