273683 Predictors of pursuit of a college science education among high achieving minority 10th graders

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Katarzyna Zebrak, MAA , Department of Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD
Daisy Le, MPH, MA , Department of Behavioral & Community Health (BCH) - CHAMP Lab, University of Maryland, College Park - School of Public Health, College Park, MD
Bradley O. Boekeloo, PhD, MS , Department of Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Min Qi Wang, PhD, MS , Department of Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD
Background: Minority populations are underrepresented in health science fields, perhaps hampering national efforts to address health disparities between minorities and Whites. Informed by recent studies using Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT), this study examines whether self-efficacy, perceived adult support, and perceived barriers are associated with a plan to pursue college science education. Prior SCCT applications suggest that self-efficacy is a particularly strong predictor of career plans among youth. Methods: A paper-and-pencil survey was administered to 134 10th graders in an underserved community to assess predisposing factors regarding pursuit of a health science career. The sample had greater than a B- average; and was predominantly female (70.1%) and African American (67.2%). Hierarchical linear regression was used to determine whether the three independent variables predicted pursuit of college health science education controlling for varied demographic variables. Results: Although all hypothesized predictors were bivariate correlates of pursuit of college health science education, only perceived adult support remained a significant predictor in a multivariate model including all independent and demographic variables. The model accounted for 34% of the outcome's variance. Conclusions: Perceived adult support may be a particularly influential construct associated with pursuit of college health science among high-achieving, disadvantaged 10th graders. As such youth may be early in their understanding of career options, they may be looking to supportive adults for guidance. These results build on SCCT research and provide further insight into youth decision-making regarding pursuit of health science.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
List at least one important factor related to post-secondary educational plans in biomedical and behavioral research (BBR) fields among African American youth.

Keywords: African American, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the two student investigators/authors on this research project. I am also a UMDCP doctoral student working under the guidance of Dr. Cheryl Holt (PI) supporting the CHAMP lab in the areas of cancer, health disparities, and health communication among others. I currently assist with research grants centered on community-based and culturally appropriate interventions. My research interests include CBPR centered on cancer prevention, care, and control among minority populations.

Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.