This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of the Career Possible Selves Construct as a Mediating Variable between Institutional Support Services Effectiveness and an Adult Student's Motivation to Persist




Westry, Ronda

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Community colleges have historically played a central role in providing the “nontraditional” student with opportunities to realize their educational and vocational goals. Open-door policies, convenience of location, opportunities to participate in distance education, affordable tuition, and flexibility in class scheduling have made the two-year college system an accessible option for students who are considered nontraditional by virtue of their age (24 years or older), socioeconomic status, or other latent at-risk factors (Horn, Neville, & Griffin, 2006). In spite of the steady gains of nontraditional student enrollment at both four year and two year college levels, low persistence and completion rates have demonstrated that access does not necessarily mean success (Bailey & Alfonso, 2005; Horn, Nevill, & Griffin, 2006). The purpose of this research study was to examine the career possible selves construct as a mediating variable between institutional support services effectiveness and an adult student’s motivation to persist at one community college in the southeastern United States. A researcher-developed survey instrument and demographics questionnaire were used to measure adult students’ perception about the services available at their institution, their career intentions, and their motivation to persist. A sample population of 108 (N=108) adult students participated in study. Partial correlation (pr ) analysis was used to examine the relationships among career possible selves, institutional support services effectiveness, and an adult student’s motivation to persist. ANOVA analysis was conducted to measure whether or not there were statistically significant differences among four demographics factors as they related to the overall score from the survey. Accordingly, the results from the research showed that the relationships among the career possible selves construct, institutional support services effectiveness, and an adult student’s motivation to persist are statistically significant when all three variables are present. However when the career possible selves construct was controlled, the institutional support services effectiveness and an adult’s motivation to persist variables did not show a statistically significant relationship. Additionally among the within group factors, gender was the only factor that indicated a statistically significant difference in the overall survey score.