Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Chad D. Ellett

Second Advisor

Gary G. Gintner


This study explored relationships between several psychosocial variables and academic major decision certainty. Specifically, the study purpose was four-fold. First, this study attempted to expand the traditional conceptual framework for understanding academic major selection by creating a new construct of academic major decision certainty. Second, incorporated in this study was development of new instruments to measure academic major decision certainty, student academic self-appraisal, and student academic major self-efficacy motivation. Third, this study utilized social cognitive theory to better understand academic major decision certainty as a complex, multi-faceted construct. Finally, because the sample utilized in this Study extended to all subsets of the population, broader practical applications/implications were attained, and generalizability of the results extend beyond one or more small groups of student reflected in studies to date. The study sample consisted of 853 undergraduate students attending Louisiana State University during the Summer 1999 semesters A and B. Five measures were used for data collection: Career Decision Making Self-Efficacy Scale (Taylor & Betz, 1983), Internal-External Locus of Control Scale (Rotter, 1966), Student Academic Self-Efficacy Motivation Scale, Student Academic Self-Appraisal Inventory, and Academic Major Decision Certainty Scale. The last three measures were developed specifically for this study. Major findings of the study showed: (a) self-efficacy, self-appraisal, and to a lesser degree locus of control are important elements of decision certainty; (b) the constructs of academic major decision certainty and career decision making self-efficacy are multi-dimensional; (c) the variables studied, career decision making self-efficacy, student academic major-self-efficacy, self-appraisal, and decision certainty appear to be somewhat unstable over time; (d) little relationship exists between presage variables (age, grade point average, undeclared major status, etc.) or between the presage variables and the psychosocial variables; (e) career decision making self-efficacy and student academic self-appraisal are differentially related to dimensions of academic decision certainty, (f) when the psychosocial variables were examined along with the more tradition variables in terms of their relationship to academic major decision certainty, the latter did little to explain or predict any variance in academic major status, and (g) decision certainty can be conceptualized and measured as a multidimensional, continuous variable.