EFFECTS OF SELF-EFFICACY AND OUTCOME EXPECTATIONS ON DEPRESSION, PERSISTENCE AND PROGRESS TOWARDS COMPLETION OF DISSERTATION PROPOSALS

PHILIP DAVID STEIN, Fordham University

Abstract

The progress of PhD candidates engaged in writing dissertation proposals was studied in the context of self-efficacy theory. The major constructs of this theory are self-efficacy and outcome expectations. Self-efficacy is a person's belief of ability to perform a behavior. Outcome expectations refer to beliefs regarding environmental reward of efficacious behaviors.^ Fifty PhD psychology candidates, engaged in proposal writing, volunteered for this investigation. Dependent variables were dissertation-specific and general depression, student-rated and faculty-rated progress, and persistence. Hypotheses were tested with multiple analysis and analyses of variance techniques. Supplementary analysis was accomplished utilizing multiple regression of the dependent and independent variables. Demographic, personal status and selected personological variables were employed for this purpose.^ Findings were that individuals with high self-efficacy manifested greater self-rated progress, and less general and dissertation-specific depression than individuals with low self-efficacy. Outcome expectations were related to dissertation functioning only in interaction with self-efficacy. Contrary to the expectation that the high self-efficacy, high outcome expectation group would manifest the most persistence, individuals with high self-efficacy and low outcome expectations worked the hardest.^ An expected interaction between efficacy expectations, outcome expectations and depression was not found. Rather, lowered self-efficacy, regardless of level of outcome expectation, was significantly related to elevated levels of depression. This finding supports the learned helplessness theory of depression rather than self-efficacy theory.^ High levels of dissertation and general depression were found. Financial concerns were most important for the general type. Perceived research inefficacy was the primary source of the specific type.^ Students and faculty agree on who is progressing but not on how much progress is being made. Faculty ratings are significantly lower than student ratings. Specific outcome expectations were not related to general expectations measured by locus-of-control. Dissertation self-efficacy was unrelated to outcome expectations. Self-efficacy increased and outcome expectations diminished the longer students continued in Seminar. Prior to Seminar, contact with students provided the most important source of efficacy information. While in Seminar, contact with faculty was the most important source. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

PHILIP DAVID STEIN, "EFFECTS OF SELF-EFFICACY AND OUTCOME EXPECTATIONS ON DEPRESSION, PERSISTENCE AND PROGRESS TOWARDS COMPLETION OF DISSERTATION PROPOSALS" (January 1, 1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8725688.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8725688

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