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The Role of Efficacy and Identity in Science Career Commitment Among Underrepresented Minority Students

Authors


  • This research was supported by Grant Number R01GM071935 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, or the National Institutes of Health. We are grateful for the support of research team members Faye Crosby, Elizabeth Espinosa, Lisa Hunter, Beth Jaworski, Deborah Kogan, Carrol Moran, Elizabeth Morgan, Jerome Shaw, and Julie Shattuck, as well as the leadership and members of the SACNAS .

  • At the time the study was conducted, all authors were in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), with the exception of Barbara K. Goza, who was at the Educational Partnership Center at UCSC. Moin Syed is now in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, and Barbara K. Goza is now in the Department of Psychology at UCSC.

Martin Chemers, Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 [e-mail: mchemers@ucsc.edu].

Abstract

A web-based survey of members of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science tested a model that proposed that the effects of science support experiences on commitment to science careers would be mediated by science self-efficacy and identity as a scientist. A sample of 327 undergraduates and 338 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows described their science support experiences (research experience, mentoring, and community involvement); psychological variables (science self-efficacy, leadership/teamwork self-efficacy, and identity as a scientist); and commitment to pursue a career in scientific research. Structural equation model analyses supported our predictions. Among the undergraduates, science (but not leadership/teamwork), self-efficacy, and identity as a scientist fully mediated the effects of science support experiences and were strong predictors of commitment. Results for the graduate/postdoctoral sample revealed a very similar pattern of results, with the added finding that all three psychological mediators, including leadership/teamwork self-efficacy, predicted commitment.

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