Date of Conferral







Joanna Bissel-Havran


Deficits in career decision making self-efficacy, career decidedness, and academic motivation have contributed to prolonged cycles of poverty, an increase in the number of years it takes to complete an undergraduate degree, and an upsurge in the amount of financial debt incurred. Recurrently, students are saddled with large amounts of debt for a degree that was never attained. One group heavily affected by this phenomenon is African American urban adolescents (AAUA). This quantitative study used a social cognitive career theory framework and a repeated-measures research design to examine whether a significant change in scores occurred from Time 1 to Time 2 on the Career Decision Self- Efficacy Scale—Short Form (CDSE-SF), Career Decision Scale (CDS), and Academic Motivation Scale—High School (AMS-HS). African American adolescents attending an urban high school in a midwestern state participated. Students were surveyed before and after completing the Strong Interest Inventory and participating in an educational session designed to aid them in making career and educational choices. Paired-samples t tests revealed no significant changes in scores on the CDSE-SF, CDS, or AMS-HS. However, findings from Pearson correlations suggest that career self-efficacy is largely correlated with both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. This research contributes to social change by informing urban school districts and families of the need to deliver comprehensive career exploration programming for AAUA. This programming has the potential to aid students in making educational choices that align with their expected career paths, reduce their time to completion in postsecondary programs, and increase their potential for economic stability. Assessing