Variables that predict development of purpose in traditional-aged college students
Prince, Patrice Annette
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This study explored developing purpose in traditional-aged college students utilizing Chickering and Reisser’s (1993) theory of student development as the theoretical framework. Research has examined developing purpose, involvement, and career indecision separately, with minimal attention paid to the ways in which these constructs interact. The purpose was to examine the relationship among involvement, career indecision, and specific demographic variables as related to developing purpose. This research sought to determine which constellation of variables could serve as predictors of developing purpose. Five research questions were studied: To what extent do specific demographic and background variables help explain the development of purpose? What is the joint contribution of involvement and career indecision in explaining variation in developing purpose over and above what is explained by specific demographic and background variables? What is the unique contribution of career indecision in explaining variation in developing purpose over and above what is explained by specific demographic and background variables and involvement? What is the unique contribution of involvement in explaining variation in developing purpose over and beyond what is explained by specific demographic and background variables and career indecision? What variables appear to be most important in explaining development of purpose? The Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Assessment, College Student Experiences Questionnaire, Career Decision Scale, and a demographic information questionnaire developed by the researcher were administered to 295 juniors and seniors at two institutions. A stepwise multiple regression was performed on the data. Results of the study indicated that the Developing Purpose construct is part of a constellation involving other variables (career indecision, involvement, race, major, and class level) rather than a single independent variable. The optimal regression equation for the sample at Institution I, a Predominantly White Institution, included: career indecision, involvement, race, and major. At Institution II, a Historically Black University, the regression equation included: career indecision, involvement, race, major, and class level. These results were significant at the p = .05 level. This dissertation makes specific recommendations for interventions, programs and services that can assist student affairs professionals and other educators with promoting the development of purpose in traditional-aged college students.