Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education

Major Professor

Melinda M. Gibbons

Committee Members

Marianne Woodside, Jennifer Morrow, John Lounsbury


The purpose of this study was to examine the career development of underprepared college students through a framework of Relational Career Theory. Demographic information was reported for the population to help better understand these students. Specifically, the constructs of family influence, locus of control, and career decision-making self-efficacy were explored as they relate to perceived success in college. Finally, gender differences for each construct were also examined. The demographic information collected supports reported statistical information about this group in that students of a minority status and first-generation college students were overrepresented in the population. No significant relationship between the RCT constructs and perceived success in college were found. However, significant correlations between external locus of control and family expectations, financial support, and values and beliefs were found indicating that a greater family influence is related to external control. Additionally, higher levels of career decision-making self-efficacy were related to internal locus of control and informational support from family. These findings support previous research as well as theorized RCT connections. Finally, no significant differences between men and women were found. This study provides further information about underprepared college students to help practitioners better understand this population. This study also provides significant correlations between the RCT constructs of family influence, locus of control, and career decision-making self-efficacy.

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