Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling

Document Type



This study explored relationships between Self-Efficacy, Motivation, and Outcome Expectations and Intention Certainty. Intention Certainty is a new variable created for this study and comprised of existing conceptions of intention and decision certainty. The purpose of this study was fourfold. This study attempted to expand our understanding of the college retention dropout issue by exploring relationships between psychologically rich variables. Second, this study provided information considered useful for framing future research on retention from a different perspective that focuses on characteristics of individuals who stay, rather than those who leave higher education with the consideration of psychological constructs. Further, this research expanded the Tinto model to examine psychological variables believed to influence intention to remain enrolled as opposed to demographic variables associated with student dropouts. Finally, because the sample was extended to include all subsets of the student population, broader practical applications were obtained resulting in greater generalizability of the results. The study sample consisted of 441 undergraduate students attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette during the summer 2001 session. Four measures were used for data collection: College Student Self-Efficacy Scale (CSSES), Student Motivation Scale (SMS), Student Outcome Expectation Scale (SOES), and the Student Intention Certainty Scale (SICS). All measures were created specifically for this study. Major findings include: a) the measures developed specifically for the study are of reasonable quality, b) the hypothesized relationships between the independent variables and dependent variable were corroborated contrary to findings from prior research, c) there is little relationship between the presage variables and the psychological variables studied, d) positive outcome expectations and, to a lesser degree, students’ self-efficacy beliefs, make the strongest contribution to students’ intentions to remain enrolled in college and to persist in obtaining a college degree, and e) importantly, the psychological variables utilized in the study appear to be more powerful predictors of college student’s intentions to remain enrolled than previously studied demographic and presage variables.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Chad D. Ellett



Included in

Education Commons