Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Jacob J. Levy

Committee Members

John W. Lounsbury, Melinda M. Gibbons, Melissa A. Bartsch


This study examined the relationships among high academic achievement as measured by ACT scores and participation in honors and/or gifted programming, high levels of self-reported interests and skills, and dysfunctional career thoughts. Participants were 143 first and second-year undergraduate students from two southeastern US universities. Along with demographics, data was collected from the Self-Directed Search (SDS) and Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI). Results suggested a positive relationship between high academic achievement and a greater number of career options to consider pursuing. Specifically, those enrolled in gifted and/or honors programs reported significantly more interests and competencies in a number of domains based on Holland’s RIASEC model. However, there was no relationship between high academic achievement or high interest and skills and dysfunctional career thoughts. In fact, non-honors students displayed significantly more decision-making confusion in comparison to those enrolled in honors programming. The findings have implications for both researchers and practitioners.

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