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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

African American undergraduates' perceptions of school psychology as a career option
by Raab, Sarah Elizabeth, M.A., East Carolina University, 2011, 75; 1493525
Abstract (Summary)

Students in public schools are becoming more diverse, yet the school psychologists who serve them are still primarily Caucasian. One of the goals of the profession is to diversify the workforce; although there is a shortage of school psychologists, filling open positions with individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds remains difficult. Utilizing an African American presenter to provide information about a career in school psychology is one strategy to recruit individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds in to the profession. Some research suggests that African Americans prefer career role models of the same race while other research suggests that interpersonal skills are more influential than race alone. Since most school psychologist practitioners, faculty, and students in school psychology graduate training programs are not African American, it is important to understand whether information provided by a Caucasian presenter would also increase African American students' interest in school psychology.

The main purpose of this study is to understand if the race of the presenter providing information about a career in school psychology impacts participants' interest in school psychology. Twenty-five African American undergraduate psychology majors completed a pre-intervention survey, listened to a brief information session about a career in school psychology presented by a Caucasian presenter, and completed a post-intervention survey. There was significant change in interest in school psychology as a career following the information session. The change in the participants' expressed interest was not significantly different from that of a previous study in which the presenter was African American.

The career information session conducted by a Caucasian presenter to students from diverse ethnic backgrounds seems as effective in increasing interest in the field as that presented by an African American. This provides some evidence that school psychology practitioners, faculty, and students in school psychology graduate training programs could be effective recruiters of diverse individuals into the field even if they are not African American. Accurate information also increases African American participants' perception that a career in school psychology can meet multiple career satisfaction domains. These career domains match the domains that practicing school psychologists find most satisfying about their careers, indicating that participants have a more realistic view of the career satisfactions provided by a school psychology career. Increasing ethnically diverse students' interest in school psychology may increase their likelihood of enrolling in a graduate training program and eventually practicing school psychology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brown, Michael B.
Commitee: Bolen, Larry M., Walcott, Christy M.
School: East Carolina University
Department: Psychology: School Psychology
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 49/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology, Counseling Psychology
Keywords: Career choice, Race, School psychology
Publication Number: 1493525
ISBN: 978-1-124-66030-1
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