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J Educ Psychol. 2011 Feb 1;103(1):206-222.

Toward a Model of Social Influence that Explains Minority Student Integration into the Scientific Community.

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1
Department of Psychology, California State University San Marcos.

Abstract

Students from several ethnic minority groups are underrepresented in the sciences, such that minority students more frequently drop out of the scientific career path than non-minority students. Viewed from a perspective of social influence, this pattern suggests that minority students do not integrate into the scientific community at the same rate as non-minority students. Kelman (1958, 2006) describes a tripartite integration model of social influence (TIMSI) by which a person orients to a social system. To test if this model predicts integration into the scientific community, we conducted analyses of data from a national panel of minority science students. A structural equation model framework showed that self-efficacy (operationalized consistent with Kelman's 'rule-orientation') predicted student intentions to pursue a scientific career. However, when identification as a scientist and internalization of values are added to the model, self-efficacy becomes a poorer predictor of intention. Additional mediation analyses support the conclusion that while having scientific self-efficacy is important, identifying with and endorsing the values of the social system reflect a deeper integration and more durable motivation to persist as a scientist.

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