Determinants of a Professional Self-Concept among Graduate Students (1974)

in: Social Science Quarterly, Volume 55, Issue 2

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Independent variables that facilitate the development of a professional self-concept among teaching assistants in graduate school are researched in a study involving 364 graduate teaching assistants at Florida State U, during the Spring 1969-70 academic year. Data were collected by means of a mailed questionnaire. The dependent variable is professional self-concept, with professional role-enactment, exposure to graduate school, perceived success, career expectations, autonomy & previous experience being the independent variables. 0-order relationships & J. Coleman's measure of effect parameters were used to measure the relationships. The findings were compared to those of previous research in the field of professional self-concept, & found to support conclusions there. Role-enactment explains the most variation, with exposure second. While autonomy does not have a strong independent effect on self-concept, its interaction with role-enactment, exposure, & perceived success suggest it to be a possible important positive or negative part of the professionalization process & worthy of consideration. The pros & cons of teaching assistantship in developing professional self-concept are discussed, & the implications of the study, since all independent variables have some impact in forming professional self-concept, are pointed out as important in achieving maximum development of a professional self-concept. 6 Tables. S. Coler.