Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


This study's purpose was to investigate the relationship between an individual's self-esteem and the decisions he makes during life changes. Specifically, self-esteem of career changers and its relationship to need satisfying conditions of their occupations was examined. Transfer of these findings to classroom implications was discussed. The subjects were 56 adults attending a State University College in New York, randomly selected by the college's Administrative Computing Services. This sample population completed Rosenberg's SelfEsteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965) to reflect their selfesteem before and after their decision to change career. The subjects were then divided into categories based on the level of self-esteem before and after the decision to change career. They also identified current occupation and targeted occupation. Occupational reinforcers, also defined as need satisfying conditions, were then matched with each occupation. Chi squared statistical analyses were run to identify any significant shifts in reinforcer patterns. Only the high self-esteem before and after decision to change career provided sufficient data for substantive analysis. Of the 21 reinforcers, seven exhibited significant shifts: ability utilization, achievement, company policies and practices, creativity, responsibility, variety, and autonomy. Further research of a more diverse population, of more specific sub-groups, and of various aspects of students' school-related choices, is suggested.

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