A Meta-analytic Investigation of the Predictors of Educational and Vocational Goals for Latina/o Students
Risco, Cristina Maria
O'Brien, Karen M
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Despite the growth of the U.S. Latina/o population, there exists a pattern of academic underachievement and low career attainment among Latina/o communities (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). In light of disparities in educational and vocational attainment, much has been written about the educational and career goal formation processes of Latina/o students. However, the empirical studies that address predictors of educational and vocational goals present a complex picture. To advance knowledge in this area, the current study provided a meta-analytic review of the correlates of educational and career goals for Latina/o students, accounting for the similarities and differences across 26 independent samples drawn from 25 studies. In conceptualizing the career development of Latina/o students, Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) was used as the foundation for examining the relations among the predictor and outcome variables of interest. Correlates of educational and vocational goals included career-relevant person variables (i.e., career-related self-efficacy), sociocultural person variables (i.e., acculturation and ethnic identity), and contextual variables (i.e., barriers and support). Specifically, an empirical synthesis was conducted of 87 correlations from 16 published studies (with 17 samples) and nine unpublished reports that examined predictors of Latina/o students' educational and vocational goals. Findings indicated that across various study and sample characteristics, effect sizes were small for all the correlates of interest with the exception of career-related self-efficacy (which evidenced a moderate effect size). Additionally, type of goal measure, developmental stage of sample, and study source provided adequate models of moderation. Type of goal measure was found to moderate the effects of career-related self-efficacy, perception of barriers, and support from an important adult on educational/vocational goals while developmental stage of the sample moderated the main effects of perception of barriers. Moreover, study source moderated the effects of career-related self-efficacy, support from an important adult, and support from peers. To end, the contributions of the current work highlighted limitations in the literature, generated directions for future research, and provided recommendations for intervention and prevention efforts with Latina/o communities.