Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Markeda Newell

Committee Members

Nadya Fouad, Cindy Walker, Bonnie Klein-Tasman, Kyongboon Kwon


Diversity, Learning Experiences, Minority, Recruitment, School Psychology, Social Cognitive Career Theory


Racial/ethnic minorities have historically been underrepresented within the profession of school psychology. An increase in minorities within the field of school psychology has been forwarded as a way to improve the service provision to the nation's racial/ethnic minority student population. Unfortunately, trainers within school psychology have struggled to recruit minority graduate students, with the most recent demographic survey of the field suggesting that racial/ethnic minorities comprise 9.3% of school-based practitioners (Curtis, Castillo, & Gelley, 2012). Furthermore, research has indicated that school psychology training programs have also lagged behind counseling and clinical psychology training programs in the recruitment of minority students (Fiegener, 2009).

In this current study, a Social Cognitive Career Theory framework was used to identify alterable variables that may impact undergraduate psychology students' choice intention for entering a school psychology training program. Junior and senior undergraduate psychology students were selected for this study due to being a common pool of potential applicants for school, counseling, and clinical psychology training programs. This dissertation was divided into two studies. In the first study, advanced undergraduate psychology students' knowledge, exposure, and perception of field's commitment to diversity (i.e., learning experiences) were compared across choice intention for three professional psychology types (i.e., school, counseling, and clinical psychology). Difference between minority and non-minority students' endorsement of these learning experiences were also assessed. Within the second study, a mediation analysis was conducted in order to examine whether self-efficacy and outcomes expectations mediated the relationship between advanced undergraduate psychology students' learning experiences and choice intentions for school psychology.

Results suggest that advanced undergraduate psychology students have less knowledge and exposure to school psychology compared to counseling or clinical psychology. However, no significant difference between school psychology and the two other fields was found for perception of commitment to diversity nor was there a significant difference between minority and non-minority participants' for any of the learning experiences. Furthermore, the relationship between each learning experience (i.e., knowledge, exposure, and commitment to diversity) and choice intention for school psychology was mediated by outcome expectations for attaining a degree in school psychology and self-efficacy for meeting school psychology academic milestones. Implications for diversity recruitment within school psychology are discussed.