Social Cognitive Predictors of Engineering Students’ Academic Persistence Intentions, Satisfaction, and Engagement.

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SCCT, Engineering, Persistence, Satisfaction, Engagement

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Morgridge College of Education, Counseling Psychology


The demand for high quality engineers is of particular importance as engineering jobs are projected to grow in the next 10 years (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). More work is needed to understand factors related to academic engagement, satisfaction, and persistence intentions of Latino/as and women in engineering: 2 underrepresented groups in the engineering pipeline. We present findings that explored the role of social-cognitive, environmental, and personality variables in engineering persistence intentions, engagement and satisfaction of a diverse sample of 1,335 engineering students using an extension of the integrative social cognitive career theory model (SCCT; Lent et al., 2013). Results indicated that (a) the hypothesized model fit the data well for the full sample and across 8 subsamples based on gender-ethnicity (i.e., Latinas, Latinos, White women, and White men) and ethnicity-school type (i.e., Latina/os at Hispanic-serving institutions [HSIs], Latina/os at predominantly White institutions [PWIs], Whites at HSIs, and Whites at PWIs), (b) all but 5 model parameters were significant and positive for the full sample, (c) a subset of model parameters differed by the interactions of race/ethnicity-gender and race/ethnicity-school type groups, and (d) the relations within the model explained a significant amount of variance in engineering academic engagement, satisfaction, and persistence intentions for the full sample and 8 subsamples. Implications of the findings for educational and career interventions aimed at retaining Latina/os and women in engineering are discussed in relation to building on social cognitions in engineering academic engagement, satisfaction, and persistence intentions.

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