• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Career course impact on adolescents' levels of career decision self-efficacy, hope, and self-esteem

Dissertation
Author: Bertha M. Medina
Abstract:
Research indicates that during the adolescent years, career choices are major concerns for student contemplation. Many adolescents are graduating from high school without knowing what careers they wish to pursue. The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate if activities implemented in a career course could potentially increase students' confidence in making career decisions, hope about their future goals, and improve their self-esteem. Eighty high school students participated in this study (37 in the treatment group and 43 in the control group). Participants were given the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale - Short Form, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Hope scale. These three psychometric scales were administered in a pretest, and ten weeks later a posttest. The quantitative study utilized a nonequivalent group, quasi-experimental design, and the data was analyzed with descriptive statistics, chi-square test of homogeneity, and repeated measures ANOVA. Findings indicated significant main effect differences for career decision self-efficacy in the pretest ( M = 94.91, SD = 12.10) and posttest scores ( M = 100.56, SD = 13.18), F (1, 78) = 20.67, p < .001, as well as significant interaction effects between the pretest and posttests and the treatment and control groups F (1, 78) = 20.81, p < .001, indicating that there were differences based on the treatment and control groups in their confidence levels with making career decisions. No significant main effects or interactions were found for hope and self-esteem. The results indicate that the career course influenced career decision self-efficacy in the treatment group, however, not hope and self-esteem on either groups. The findings support the idea that Social Cognitive Career Theory is an effective model which has components that can be translated to bolster students' confidence in making career decisions and raise hope and esteem levels. Future research recommendations include implementation of a 16-week format, and addition of supplemental activities. Furthermore, a mixed method analysis may be used which includes a follow-up measure to determine the durability of the impact of the class.

Table of Contents Copyright Notice ii Approval Page iii Abstract iv Acknowledgements vi Table of Contents vii List of Tables ix List of Figures x Chapter 1: Introduction 1 Background 3 Problem Statement 5 Purpose 6 Theoretical Framework 8 Research Questions and Hypotheses 11 Nature of the Study 14 Significance of the Study 15 Definitions 16 Summary 18 Chapter 2: Literature Review 20 Social Cognitive Career Theory 22 Career Interventions 25 Career Decision Self-Efficacy 29 Hope 34 Self-Esteem 45 Summary 49 Chapter 3: Methodology 52 Overview 52 Restatement of the Problem and Purpose 52 Restatement of the Research Questions and Hypotheses 52 Research Design 56 Operational Definition of Variables 57 Participants 57 Career Course Intervention 59 Materials and Instruments 64 Career Decision Making Self-Efficacy Scale 65 Hope Scale 66 Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale 67 vii

Conceptual Construct Model 68 Data Collection 69 Data Processing and Analysis 71 Methodological Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations 72 Ethical Assurances 76 Summary 78 Chapter 4: Data Analysis, Results, and Evaluation of Findings 79 Overview 79 Reliability 80 Descriptive Statistics 81 Chi-square test of homogeneity Analysis 84 Hypotheses Testing 85 Evaluation of Findings 94 Summary 101 Chapter 5: Implications, Recommendations, and Conclusions 103 Implications 104 Recommendations 119 Conclusions 122 References 124 List of Appendixes 134 Appendix A: Demographic Questionnaire - Student Information Sheet 134 Appendix B: ACE Informed Assent & Consent Form 135 Appendix C: ACE Informed Assent & Consent Form: Spanish 137 Appendix D: Control School Informed Assent & Consent Form 139 Appendix E: Control School Informed Assent & Consent Form: Spanish... 140 Appendix F: Career Decision Self-Efficacy - Short Form (CDSE-SF)* 142 VIII

List of Tables Table 1: Demographics of Experimental and Control Groups 84 IX

List of Figures Figure 1: Basic conceptual model 69 Figure 2: Treatment and Control Group Means for CDSE-SF 86 Figure 3: Treatment and Control Group Means for Self-Esteem 87 Figure 4: Treatment and Control Group Means for the Hope Scale 89 x

1 Chapter 1: Introduction Approximately 75% of youth, entering higher education are undecided about their career goals, and at least half of those with declared majors change their minds (Cuseo, 2003). When offered, career exploration generally involves assessment only pertaining to interests, work values, and skills; thus many of the individual's strengths that will contribute to student's outcomes are missed (Robitschek & Woodson, 2006). Positive psychologists contend that environments, such as schools, are poised to foster positive development (Clonan, Chafouleas, McDougal, & Riley-Tillman, 2005; Seligman, 2002). As complex and multidimensional beings, many students may benefit through exploration of perceptions relating to internal and external factors (e.g., influences, beliefs, perceptions, values, goals) and better exposure to insights concerning personal strengths, experiences, and career decision making skills. Such activities can incite hope through determination and mental plans to pursue career goals, in addition to strengthening their self-esteem (Snyder, 2000). The Achieving a College Education (ACE) program has been highlighted by the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) and the Pathways to College Network (PCN) as a program designed to increase the success of students at- risk, financially disadvantaged, or first-generation college bound students, through a smooth transition from high school to higher education (Martinez, & Klopott, 2005). The nationally recognized ACE program focuses on competencies to be successful in education. One condition of the ACE program is that students take college coursework at the college while attending their junior

2 or senior years in high school, thus overlapping their transitional experience. Each college district campus in the program under study varies on the recommended sequence of courses to be taken by students. In addition to general courses, a component of the district-wide ACE program is a sequence of counseling personal development courses offered to the cohort with one being a career course. Course competencies often include descriptions of educational and career planning, researching occupational trends and outlooks, identifying career resources, and developing an educational plan. However, it is also acceptable to integrate topics relevant to the subject matter. It is often at the individual level, however, that a young person can relate to one's positive traits, which include interpersonal skills and vocations (Seligman, 2002). The interactions of these factors are influential to career interest development (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). A better and genuine understanding of oneself can reflect a sense of self satisfaction and passion towards the chosen career path. With this perspective, a positive experience is attempted by integrating activities into a career course to increase awareness of strengths in relationship to self-efficacy, hope, and self-esteem in career interest development. This chapter provides an overview of research conducted on a career course's influence on high school students' hope, self-esteem, and confidence in making career decisions. The first section focuses briefly on the groundwork of what has been done and the relevance of providing career interventions to students to boost self-efficacy, hope for the future, and self-esteem. The next

3 sections include the problem statement and the purpose of the study. Then the theoretical framework of the research is described, followed by the research questions and hypotheses created to reflect the concept. Also, the design, constructs, psychometric measures and analyses conducted are described under the nature of the study. Next the significance of the study to the body of knowledge is discussed. Finally, the key operational terms to be used in the study are defined. Background The cycle of exploring careers is a continual process from adolescence through early adulthood (Super, 1980). The lack of support and direction during those years can impact a student's decision to continue in furthering one's education (Tinto, 1993). A method of fostering knowledge and awareness is through career courses, which are methods of career interventions that were originally developed to deliver career services to college students (Fouad, Cotter, & Kantamneni, 2009). The literature supports the effectiveness of implementing career courses as interventions. Whiston, Sexton, and Lasoff's (1998) meta-analysis of 47 career interventions found that out of eight categories, career classes were the third most effective means of improving clear career decision making. More recently, Folsom, Reardon, and Lee's (2005) evaluation of 50 career planning courses in higher education found that even with variations of career course design and operations, a positive impact in cognitive functioning, satisfaction with career courses, and retention were evidenced.

4 Further research finds that models and methods of measuring effectiveness of the career development process emerged from Bandura's social cognitive theory about self-efficacy beliefs (Betz, Hammond, & Multon, 2005; Betz & Klein, 1996; Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1994; Taylor & Betz, 1983). Gainor's (2006) review of 25 years of self-efficacy in career assessment studies found that the majority of quasi-experimental research was conducted on college students and applied Bandura's four sources of learning in those interventions. Several of the studies have focused on marginalized groups and the benefits of career decision self-efficacy (Alliman-Brissett, Turner& Skovholt, 2004; Chung, 2002; Gushue, Scanlan, Pantzer, & Clarke, 2006; Gushue & Whitson, 2006; Lopez & Ann-Yi, 2006; Turner and Lapan, 2003). A broader and more recent view of self- efficacy through human agency in career development is explained as the interplay of one's vision, motivation, self-awareness and personal meaning and life goals (Bandura, 2001; Chen 2006). The ability to be responsible for one's own development and actions taken reflect human agency. Hope and self-esteem are also concepts which have been associated with self-efficacy. Hope is a source which is increased when movement is made toward goals with strategies to achieve them (Snyder, 1995). More recently, hope theory has been recognized as a psychological and strength-based construct in the field of positive psychology (Snyder, Lopez, Shorey, Rand, & Feldman, 2003). Hope studies have found higher hope levels reflective of people who have higher GPA and graduation rates and also in cognitive hardiness, as decreases in depression, anxiety, and stress occur (Green, Grant, & Rynsaardt,

5 2007; Snyder et al., 2002). Relationships have also been found between low hope and anxiety with statistics and hope in predicting procrastination (Alexander & Onwuegbuzie, 2007; Onwuegbuzie, 1998). Self-efficacy has also been correlated with self-esteem. Lane, Lane and Kyprianou (2004) found a relationship between self-efficacy, self-esteem, and impact on a student's academic performance. The researchers' notion was that the level of work put into the tasks would correlate with their self-esteem. Researchers have expressed a need to develop programs to create awareness in meeting life's challenges. Problem Statement A review of the literature supports that indecisiveness of a career choice by high school students when transitioning into college remains a concern (Cuseo, 2003). According to Upcraft, Gardner, and Barefoot (2005), those who enter college with a career goal in mind often change because they are unclear of their interests. Tinto (1993) adds that uncertainly about career goals can influence a student's decision to remain in college. Significant research has shown that students are not prepared to transition from high school to college. In a 2002 survey of all public high schools, approximately 26% of schools helped students prepare for post-secondary schooling. Of the 13-19% reported public schools, only 20% spent time on career planning activities (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). When students were asked what activities would assist them in career exploration, only

6 20% chose individual career counseling over the 18% who expressed interest in participating in a career activity (Gordon and Steele, 2003). Research has shown that self-efficacy in making career decisions, hope, and self-esteem when indicated at higher levels are associated with positive outcomes (Cheng & Furnham, 2003; Diener& Diener, 1995; Gilman & Dooley, 2006; Gushue & Whitson, 2006; Hull-Blanks, Kurpius, Befort, Sollenberger, Nicpon, & Huser, 2005). It is hypothesized that high school students who participate and complete a career exploration course will likely indicate higher levels of career decision self-efficacy, hope, and self-esteem than before taking the class. Purpose The purpose of this quantitative study was to evaluate the influence of a 10-week career course and the constructs of career decision self-efficacy, hope, and self-esteem in a cohort of high school junior and seniors enrolled in the ACE program. A nonequivalent group quasi-experimental (NEGD) design was used for the present study that took place in the Southwest region of the United States. The experimental group consisted of 37 students from several area high schools, and the control group consisted of 43 students from a local high school. Meetings were conducted at the college through the ACE program for the experimental group and in junior and senior high school classes for the control group prior to the study for the purpose of providing information on the study and covering the contents of the consent and assent forms because the participants were less than 18 years of age. Since the convenience group size was out of the

7 researcher's control, a compromise power analysis was conducted and found that from this small sample, power could still be achieved at .95. The students were asked to complete a demographics form which requested information about gender, age, grade, ethnicity, mothers' and fathers' educational and income levels to determine homogeneity of the groups. In addition, the students were administered three psychometric assessments: the Career Decision Self- Efficacy-Short Form (CDSE-SF), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), and the Hope scale during the first and tenth week of the study. The Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale - Short Form (CDSE-SF) was used to measure the students' beliefs in their abilities to make career decisions. The CDSE-SF is a 25-item self-report psychometric tool designed to measure an individual's beliefs in relationship to tasks and behaviors in making career decisions (Betz, Hammond, & Multon, 2005; Betz & Klein, 1996). The tool consists of a 5-point Likert scale which ranges from 1 (no confidence) to 5 (complete confidence). When totaled, scores can range from 25 to 125, with higher scores reflecting confidence in career decision making abilities (Betz & Taylor, 2006). The internal consistency and reliability of the CDMSE has ranged from .86 to .89 for subscales and .97 for overall scores (Taylor & Betz, 1983). The CDSE-SF has comparable internal consistency of .93 for overall scores (Luzzo, 1993). The RSE is a one-dimensional scale that consists of 10 items and assessed the student's general feelings about themselves (Rosenberg, 1989). The RSE is the most widely used psychometric instrument for self-esteem research (Blasovich & Tomaka, 1991).The assessment consists of a 4-point

8 Likert scale, which ranges from 1 (strongly agree) to 4 (strongly disagree), with most scores ranging between 15 and 25 when totaled (Rosenberg, 1979). The RSE is touted as having an excellent internal consistency of .92. Excellent stability has also been measured in test-retest reliability correlations of .85 and .88. The Hope scale was used to measure students' hope (Snyder, Harris, Anderson, Holleran, Irving, & Sigmon, 1991). Hope is measured by agency (a determination to meet one's goals) and pathways (which is generated by planned ways to meet these goals), (Snyder et al., 1991). The instrument consists of 12- items on a 4-point Likert scale, which ranges from 1 (definitely false) to 4 (definitely true). The lowest possible score is 8, and the highest is 32, with an average of 24 (Snyder, 1995). Alphas have ranged from .74 to .88 in total to subscales. An alpha of .70 to .84 has been established for agency and .63 to .86 for pathways. Correlations of .85 for three weeks and .82 for 10 weeks have demonstrated test-retest reliability (Snyder et al., 1991). Theoretical Framework Bandura's (1982) social cognitive model based self-efficacy on (a) performance attainment; (b) vicarious experiences through observation of others (modeling); (c) verbal and social persuasion impact on skill development (feedback); and (d) attentiveness to physiological states to judge strengths and abilities. These four sources were viewed by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994) as essential in learning. Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) was developed as an expansion of Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory to provide a framework

9 in understanding that having a career goal can lead to self-confidence and success. The model involves the formation of career interests, educational and career decision making, and persistence in career pursuits. It also focuses on issues related to career entry, academic and career behaviors, and how thinking influences behavioral responses. The model also emphasizes when career related actions are taken, that self-regulation occurs with the interactions of a person's attributes, the environment, and behaviors. The model further attributes the mechanisms at work in career development to involve a person's self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations and personal goals. The role of self-efficacy is stressed in involving an individual's perception of one's abilities to organize and actions taken, to obtain results. The confidence in possessing the skills and abilities to make career decisions would be a feasible predictor in what is learned in a career class. SCCT has integrated the application of the four sources of learning to career interventions (Gibbons & Shoffner, 2004; Sullivan & Mahalik, 2006). In addition, Betz (2007) and Gainor (2006) completed separate reviews of several studies and found these elements useful to career guidance interventions. Much of this research also supports an increase of confidence in the skills and abilities to make career decisions (Creed & Patton, 2003; Turner & Lapan, 2003). The concept of hope as a positive psychology construct may be a viable predictor in career planning. The premise of hope theory includes the roles of cognition and emotions (Snyder et al., 1991) and is recognized and applied as a

10 psychological and strength based construct in the field of positive psychology (Snyder, Rand, & Signon, 2005). Hope is defined as the determination to meet one's goals (agency) generated by planned ways (pathways to meet these goals), (Snyder et al., 1991). Hope has also been used as a construct to measure its relationship to academic success in students (Snyder, Shorey, Cheavens, Pulers, Adams III, Virgil, et al., 2002); psychological strength, (Valle, Huebner, & Suldo, 2006); and psychoeducation (Gilman, & Dooley, 2006). Most recently, Snyder et al. (2003) addressed the application of hope to school psychology. Snyder, Shorey, and Rand (2005) add that hopeful students have the ability and motivation to develop and implement strategies. Their research indicates that hopeful thinking allows youth to make commitments, set goals, and develop strategies to attain their goals. It is proposed that hope can be instrumental in the way one thinks and feels involving one's future career goals. Rosenberg (1965) explained that the awareness of an adolescent's self- esteem was heightened by one's urgency to make occupational decisions. The teenage years are described as formative years and have reflected lower self- esteem periods attributed to puberty, abstract thinking related to opportunities and expectations, and academic and social transitions (Robins & Trzesniewski, 2005). Self-esteem is a construct which has played a role in career planning and exploration (Hull-Blanks et al., 2005); been linked to happiness (Cheng & Furnham, 2003), life satisfaction (Diener& Diener, 1995) and supporting peer group relationships (Kiuru, Aunola, Vuori, & Nurmi, 2007). Although there are several definitions of self-esteem, Heatherton and Wyland (2003) describe it as

11 the attitude one has of one's personal beliefs, skills, abilities, relationships, and outcomes. From this perspective, self-esteem would serve as a variable in the prediction of career planning. Research Questions and Hypotheses The researcher proposed that high school students who participated in a career course (independent variable) would indicate higher levels of career decision self-efficacy, hope, and self-esteem (dependent variables) then before taking the class. The following questions and hypotheses served as the basis of the study: Q1: Do students enrolled in a career course indicate higher levels of career self-efficacy as defined by the CDSE-SF compared to students not enrolled in a career course? H1o: Students enrolled in a career course will not indicate higher levels of career self-efficacy as defined by the CDSE-SF compared to students not enrolled in a career course. H1a: Students enrolled in a career course will indicate higher levels of career self-efficacy as defined by the CDSE-SF compared to students not enrolled in a career course. Q2: Do students enrolled in a career course indicate higher levels of self- esteem as defined by the RSE compared to students not enrolled in a career course?

12 H2o: Students enrolled in a career course will not indicate higher levels of self-esteem as defined by the RSE compared to students not enrolled in a career course. H2a: Students enrolled in a career course will indicate higher levels of self-esteem as defined by the RSE compared to students not enrolled in a career course. Q3: Do students enrolled in a career course indicate higher levels of hope as defined by the Hope scale as compared to students not enrolled in a career course? H3o: Students enrolled in a career course will not indicate higher levels of hope as defined by the Hope scale compared to students not enrolled in a career course. H3a: Students enrolled in a career course will indicate higher levels of hope as defined by the Hope scale compared to students not enrolled in a career course. Q4: Do students enrolled in a career course who indicate higher levels of career decision self-efficacy based on the CDSE-SF; also indicate higher levels of self-esteem as measured by the RSE compared to students not enrolled in a career course? H4o: Students enrolled in a career course who do not indicate higher levels of career decision self-efficacy based on the CDSE-SF, will not indicate higher levels of self-esteem as measured by the RSE compared to students not enrolled in a career course.

13 H4a: Students enrolled in a career course who indicate higher levels of career decision self-efficacy based on the CDSE-SF, will also indicate higher levels of self-esteem as measured by the RSE compared to students not enrolled in a career course. Q5: Do students enrolled in a career course who indicate higher levels of career decision self-efficacy based on the CDSE-SF; also indicate higher levels of hope as measured by the Hope scale compared to students not enrolled in a career course? H5o: Students enrolled in a career course who do not indicate higher levels of career decision self-efficacy based on the CDSE-SF, will not indicate higher levels of hope as measured by the Hope scale compared to students not enrolled in a career course. H5a: Students enrolled in a career course who indicate higher levels of career decision self-efficacy based on the CDSE-SF, will also indicate higher levels of hope as measured by the Hope scale compared to students not enrolled in a career course. Q6: Do students enrolled in a career course who indicate higher levels of self-esteem based on the RSE; also indicate higher levels of hope as measured by the Hope scale compared to students not enrolled in a career course? H6o: Students enrolled in a career course who do not indicate higher levels of self-esteem based on the RSE, will not indicate higher levels of hope as measured by the Hope scale compared to students not enrolled in a career course.

14 H6a: Students enrolled in a career course who indicate higher levels of self-esteem based on the RSE, will also indicate higher levels of hope as measured by the Hope scale compared to students not enrolled in a career course. Nature of the Study A nonequivalent group, quasi-experimental (NEGD) design was used to evaluate the influence of a 10- week career course on career decision self- efficacy, hope, and self-esteem among high school students. The design was chosen since the participants were not randomized, rather part of a convenience sample, and involved a treatment and control group, and included multiple measures. In this study, the independent variable was the career course. Activities were manipulated to influence the dependent variables of career decision self-efficacy, hope, and self-esteem. The dependent variables were measured by using the CDSE-SF to measure beliefs in abilities to make career decisions, the RSE which measured self-esteem, and the Hope scale which measured hope. The convenience sample consisted of a treatment and control group of volunteer high school students from the Southwest region of the United States. After descriptive statistics was analyzed and the chi test of homogeneity was conducted, repeated measures ANOVA was conducted on the pretest and posttests of the treatment and control groups. The analysis was performed using the SPSS (2006) graduate software package.

15 Significance of the Study The results of the present research study on applying activities into a career exploration course are significant in the research area of career interventions and career decision self-efficacy. The expectation for this study was that the pretest and posttest assessments would capture differences in the treatment group who participated in the career course, as opposed to the control group who did not. From research, the dependent variables were carefully chosen and the best psychometric measures identified to demonstrate that a career course could make a difference. Although no significance was found in hope and self-esteem from the activities offered, the results of the study were intended to support the researcher/instructor to make modifications for improvement in future classes offered. It will also be used to inform the college's counseling division of the influence of the career course. Identified constructs will be recommended for possible integration into varied counseling courses. In addition, the information from this study will be used to create in-house assessments to identify personal growth learning outcomes. Moreover, results from this report will provide insight to other ACE program counselors from throughout the college district. The potential usefulness of this study may encourage counseling faculty from throughout the district to integrate aspects of this approach into their career courses. The results will also be shared with counselors from area high schools for consideration as components of activities used in the career course. Future studies may assess college student retention rates associated with the career

16 choice improvement variables addressed. The research approach and subsequent results of this study contributes to the body of existing knowledge associated with the identified constructs. Definitions ACE: ACE is an acronym for Achieving a College Education, a scholarship-based, outreach program designed to increase the success of students at-risk, financially disadvantaged or first-generation junior or senior high school students for smooth transition to college. A condition of the ACE program is that students take college level coursework at the college while attending their junior or senior years in high school, thus overlapping their transitional experience. The coursework emphasis is on math and science. These students are also recognized as co-enrolled students. Career course: A component of the ACE program is a sequence of counseling personal development courses offered to the cohort. Course competencies often include descriptions of educational and career planning, researching occupational trends and outlooks, identifying career resources, and developing an educational plan. However, it is also acceptable to integrate topics relevant to the subject matter. The 1-credit counseling personal development career course was designed to explore career choices by examining the following: individual strengths, family and cultural influences, society and cultural influences, self-esteem, goals, personality styles, career options, information from professionals from various careers, exposure to student mentors, resume

17 writing, interviewing skills and sharing their portfolios. Additional activities in this career course included joumaling and discussions. Career decision self-efficacy: This is defined as self-efficacy in relationship to tasks and behaviors in making career decisions (Betz, Hammond, & Multon, 2005; Betz & Klein, 1996). The literature review shows the career decision making self-efficacy term was used in several studies to represent this definition prior to being changed to career decision self-efficacy (Taylor & Betz, 1983). Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale: The Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale (CDSE-SF) is a psychometric scale which measures self-efficacy in relationship to tasks and behaviors in making career decisions (Betz, Hammond, & Multon, 2005; Betz & Klein, 1996). The literature review shows the Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy - Short Form (CDMSE-SF; Taylor & Betz, 1983) used in several studies to represent this scale, prior to being changed to CDSE- SF. Control group: The control group was students from a local area high school who did not participate in the career course. Goals Scale: The Goals scale is used when assessing for hope, rather than using the term Hope Scale. This has been used to avoid discussion of interest (Snyder et al., 1991 as cited in Lopez, Snyder, & Teramoto-Pedrotti, 2003). Hope: Hope is reflected by a determination to meet one's goals (agency), which is generated by planned ways (pathways) to meet those goals (Snyder et al., 1991).

Full document contains 153 pages
Abstract: Research indicates that during the adolescent years, career choices are major concerns for student contemplation. Many adolescents are graduating from high school without knowing what careers they wish to pursue. The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate if activities implemented in a career course could potentially increase students' confidence in making career decisions, hope about their future goals, and improve their self-esteem. Eighty high school students participated in this study (37 in the treatment group and 43 in the control group). Participants were given the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale - Short Form, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Hope scale. These three psychometric scales were administered in a pretest, and ten weeks later a posttest. The quantitative study utilized a nonequivalent group, quasi-experimental design, and the data was analyzed with descriptive statistics, chi-square test of homogeneity, and repeated measures ANOVA. Findings indicated significant main effect differences for career decision self-efficacy in the pretest ( M = 94.91, SD = 12.10) and posttest scores ( M = 100.56, SD = 13.18), F (1, 78) = 20.67, p < .001, as well as significant interaction effects between the pretest and posttests and the treatment and control groups F (1, 78) = 20.81, p < .001, indicating that there were differences based on the treatment and control groups in their confidence levels with making career decisions. No significant main effects or interactions were found for hope and self-esteem. The results indicate that the career course influenced career decision self-efficacy in the treatment group, however, not hope and self-esteem on either groups. The findings support the idea that Social Cognitive Career Theory is an effective model which has components that can be translated to bolster students' confidence in making career decisions and raise hope and esteem levels. Future research recommendations include implementation of a 16-week format, and addition of supplemental activities. Furthermore, a mixed method analysis may be used which includes a follow-up measure to determine the durability of the impact of the class.