Date of Award

Spring 1992

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bardwell, Rebecca

Second Advisor

Fox, Robert

Third Advisor

Fitzgerald Meller, Judith


Self-efficacy and life satisfaction are rich and multifaceted constructs that have relevance when examining career-related behavior in women. Although empirical researchers have begun to examine these constructs in terms of women's work experiences, much remains to be clarified. This exploratory, descriptive study examined levels of self-efficacy and satisfaction with life in women who were college seniors, and those who were five and ten years post-college. The study also examined differences in levels of self-efficacy and life satisfaction in women who chose traditional or nontraditional careers. Bandura's theory of self-efficacy was used to illustrate the principal role that individuals, via their percepts of self-efficacy, play in the determination of their thoughts, feelings and actions. Women's self-perceptions have impact on their levels of self-efficacy and both may be related to career choice. Subjects for this study were recruited by means of a mailed questionnaire. Random samples of college seniors, and alumni five years and ten years post-college were asked to complete the Self-Efficacy scale, which is a measure of generalized self-efficacy or belief in one's own competence; and the Satisfaction with Life Scale, which is a cognitive judgmental measure of life satisfaction. The data obtained were analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Results (N=182) revealed that, for this sample, college seniors had significantly lower levels of self-efficacy and life satisfaction than those women who were five and ten years post-college (p<.007). No significant differences were found between traditional and nontraditional career choice. Implications for career behavior development in women as well as recommendations for future research were discussed.



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