Expanding social cognitive career theory : academic satisfaction of female students of color in STEM
Underrepresentation of women and students of color has been a longstanding issue in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Although the gender gap has narrowed in several STEM fields in recent years, female students, especially those of color, continue to face challenges in thriving in their chosen fields. The present study examined factors that contribute to these students' academic satisfaction, based on the satisfaction model of Social Cognitive Career Theory. Perceived discrimination and proactive personality were selected as an environmental obstacle and a person input in the model, respectively, as they were postulated to be especially relevant to these students. In addition, critical consciousness was included as an additional socio-cognitive variable. Data from 585 female college students of color (Mage = 21.42, SDage = 3.25; nBlack = 174, nLatina = 171, nAsian = 240) were collected through Qualtrics. Multigroup measurement invariance tests and multigroup sing were conducted to examine the racial/ethnic differences in constructs and their interrelationships. The findings showed that the three samples were equivalent at the scalar level and the proposed model fit the data from the three samples well. Significant racial/ethnic differences in several latent means and structural paths were observed. Theoretical, clinical, and institutional implications are discussed in light of the findings. Limitations and future research directions are also discussed.