Date of Award

12-2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Craig

Abstract

The demands of research and pressure to publish have been identified as reasons doctoral graduates in counselor education infrequently choose faculty careers (Maples, Altekruse, & Testa, 1993; Swickert, 1997). Despite this finding, the counselor education literature provides very little information on doctoral students' research self-efficacy or perceived ability to complete research-related tasks (Bieschke, Bishop, & Herbert, 1995). In addition, research mentoring can enhance research self-efficacy (Hollingsworth & Fassinger, 2002), yet it too remains understudied. Research mentoring involves someone more experienced promoting research skill, awareness, and productivity to someone less experienced (Dohm & Cummings, 2002). Few studies have explored research self-efficacy, research mentoring, and occupational commitment (motivation to work as a counselor educator) in counselor education doctoral students. This study investigated the relationship between research self-efficacy and research mentoring experiences and the degree to which these two variables predict occupational commitment.

Doctoral students (n = 525) who were members of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) were surveyed using questions from the Self-Efficacy in Research Measure (Kahn & Scott, 1997), Research Mentoring Experiences Scale (Hollingsworth & Fassinger, 2002) and Occupational Commitment Scale (Blau, 2003). Nearly half of the students (47%) completed the online survey. Counselor education doctoral students reported high levels of research self-efficacy and occupational commitment, but low satisfaction with their research mentoring experiences. Male doctoral students, in particular, reported significantly lower satisfaction with their research mentoring experiences than females. Results from Pearson correlation showed an inverse relationship between research self-efficacy and research mentoring experiences, as well as occupational commitment and research mentoring experiences. This finding suggests that students with high perceived research self-efficacy and low satisfaction with their research mentoring experiences had high occupational commitment towards faculty careers. Conversely, students with low perceived research self-efficacy and high satisfaction with their research mentoring experiences had low occupational commitment. Additionally, linear regression analysis established research mentoring experiences as the stronger predictor of occupational commitment. Implications for doctoral training in counselor education are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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