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Relationship of perceived barriers to career self-efficacy among Latino undergraduates at a New England regional public university

Walter Diaz, Johnson & Wales University


The Latino community has grown to be the largest minority population in the United States, but not the most prosperous. Consequently, attention needs to be focused on preparing Latinos for their economic futures, as they are grossly under-represented in higher education and in professional careers. This study explored, within the framework of Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994), perceived career barriers and career-self-efficacy of participating Latino undergraduates attending a New England regional public university. The purpose of the study was to explore the most salient factors when considering career behaviors of Latino undergraduates. The study examined the relationship of career barriers to career self-efficacy and demographic characteristics to career self-efficacy and to career barriers. A sequential, explanatory mixed-method research approach was employed. Surveys were completed by Latino undergraduates (N = 154) using the Career Barriers Inventory-Revised (CBI-R), the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale-Short Form (CDSE-SF), and a purposefully designed demographic questionnaire. Four focus groups of Latino undergraduates were held (N = 19). Mean scores for the Latino undergraduates on the CBI-R suggested that the perception of barriers would somewhat hinder their career progress. Mean scores for the CDSE-SF suggested that these undergraduates had much confidence in completing tasks necessary for executing their career plans. Total CBI-R exhibited a significant negative correlation among the CDSE-SF subscales for Self-Appraisal and Goal Selection. Discouraged from Choosing from Non-Traditional Careers and Sex Discrimination were important explanatory variables for predicting variance in career decision making self-efficacy. One-way ANOVAs and t-tests showed no significant differences for any of the demographic characteristics. Focus group findings revealed that students were able to distinguish between internal and external barriers. Most frequently cited barriers perceived as impeding career goals were: racial/ethnic discrimination, lack of ability, personal difficulties, advanced educational requirements, role conflicts, negative social factors, and inadequate preparation. The results of this study have implications for better understanding the career development process of Latino undergraduates. Recommendations are provided for career counselors that should enhance career self-efficacy and career choice processes for Latinos.

Subject Area

Multicultural Education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Diaz, Walter, "Relationship of perceived barriers to career self-efficacy among Latino undergraduates at a New England regional public university" (2010). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3408902.