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A Cross Sectional Study Of Engineering Self Efficacy

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Influences on Female Interest in Pursuit of STEM Fields

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.28.1 - 13.28.20



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Paper Authors


James Concannon University of Missouri, Columbia

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James Concannon is doctoral candidate of science education at the University of Missouri.

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Lloyd H. Barrow University of Missouri

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Lloyd H. Barrow is a professor of science education at the University of Missouri.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Title of the Paper:

A Cross-Sectional Study of Freshmen Engineering Majors’ Self-Efficacy


This is a quantitative study examining differences in 253 freshmen engineering majors’ self- efficacy, ability to cope, and engineering outcome expectations by gender, ethnicity, engineering specialty, participation in freshmen interest groups [FIGS], and participation in undergraduate engineering organizations. All of the participants in the study were first-time freshmen and were enrolled in an introductory engineering course during the fall semester of 2007. This study was performed at a large research extensive Midwestern university. Men in the study showed statically significant higher engineering career outcome expectations and statistically significant higher abilities to cope than women. Women who were in undergraduate engineering organizations and women who were in undergraduate freshmen interests groups [FIGS] showed statistically significant higher engineering career outcome expectations than women who were did not participate in these programs.


Bandura1 defines self-efficacy as one’s judgments of his or her abilities to accomplish specific tasks or objectives. Individuals’ behaviors and motives are better predicted by what they believe they are able to do more so than what they are actually capable of doing 2. Individuals with high efficacious beliefs think, feel, and act in such ways that they can actually create their own future rather than simply foretelling it 1. Self-efficacy theory assumes that an individual is able to create internal models, imaginative scenarios, for various courses of action, and that an individual can predict the outcome for each course of action 3. Self-efficacy theory also embraces the idea that individuals are self-reflective, and evaluate their decisions throughout their course of action; therefore, behavior is premeditated and is guided by intentions 3. A person’s decision upon a course of action is interrelated to his or her emotions, biological events, cognition, and environmental events. Self-efficacy influences behavior through five mechanisms. A person’s level of self-efficacy determines his or her: a) goals; b) persistence in the face of obstacles 1; c) strategies to attain goals; d) emotional responses; and e) selection of environments 3.

Self-efficacy theory proposes six sources for an individual’s self-efficacy beliefs. These sources are: 1) a person’s successes and failures (mastery experiences); 2) a person’s ability to imagine possible situations and respective outcomes for performing successfully and unsuccessfully; 3) a person’s ability to learn though observing others; 4) a person’s influence by verbal persuasions from external sources; 5) psychological states; and 6) emotional states 3.

In the early 1980s and into 1990s, the self-efficacy construct was taken from Bandura’s initial definition and tied to a person’s confidence in passing a course, finishing an engineering degree program, or one’s confidence in finding a job that he or she will like. In 1981, Betz and Hackett 4, 5 established field of occupational self-efficacy research, where a person’s confidence in career related pursuits. Lent 6 established the first academic milestones measure of self-efficacy, a

Concannon, J., & Barrow, L. H. (2008, June), A Cross Sectional Study Of Engineering Self Efficacy Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3144

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