Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of perceived social class (PSC) in the educational development of 176 racially and economically diverse high school students. PSC was defined based on the tenants of differential status identity theory (Fouad & Brown, 2000) and then incorporated as a person variable in the interest and choice model of social cognitive career theory (Lent & Brown, 1996; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). The study first examined the relation of PSC to students' choice intention to pursue a college degree via cognitive self-evaluations (college self-efficacy, college outcome expectations, college interest). Alternatively, PSC was also tested as a moderator between college interest and choice intention. Latent variable path analysis revealed that the hypothesized partial mediation and full mediation did not result in incrementally better fit over the null model. Results of the hierarchical multiple regression revealed that PSC did not moderate the relation between interest and choice intention. Post-hoc analysis was performed to examine the relation between a single aspect of PSC, namely social power (SPO) and college choice intention. Path analysis results revealed that the relation between SPO and choice intention was fully mediated by students' cognitive self-evaluations. SPO was found to have a significant indirect effect on both college intent and college outcome expectations via college self-efficacy. Theoretical and practical implications for researchers, practitioners, and prevention scientists are considered and potential directions for future research are discussed.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.