A gender role-focused self-efficacy approach to an undergraduate career decision-making course
Bell, Angela Lyn
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The current study sought to impact the career self-efficacy of female students by utilizing an established undergraduate career decision-making course as the selected intervention. Career self-efficacy is defined as the extent or degree to which an individual believes in his or her ability to successfully engage in the process of career decisionmaking (Taylor & Betz, 1983). The course was divided into a control group of three sections (n = 52) and a treatment group of three sections (n = 53). The control group followed the traditional decision-making curriculum, while the treatment group incorporated gender role socialization exploration and psychoeducation as well as selfefficacy- enhancing components into the traditional curriculum. Gender role is defined as a set of socially prescribed behaviors and characteristics assigned to men and women that stem from traditional expectations rather than biological determinants (Bem, 1974; Lindsey, 1990). Participants completed the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (Spence, Helmreich, & Stapp, 1974) as a pretest instrument for the purpose of identifying gender role self-perception (Feminine, Masculine, Androgynous, or Undifferentiated). The Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Scale-Short Form (Betz, Klein, & Taylor, 1996) was utilized as both a pretest and posttest instrument to measure increases in career selfefficacy. A series of analyses of covariance indicated that participants in the treatment group with a Feminine gender role orientation demonstrated a statistically significant increase in self-efficacy when compared with Masculine- or Androgynous-typed participants; no significant differences were found among these gender role categories in the control group. No significant differences were discovered on the basis of biological gender. Results suggest that interventions attending to sociological variables and utilizing relevant theoretical constructs may be more effective in assisting college women with the major and career decision-making process than general approaches.
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