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The role of social recognition feedback in developing science identities and reducing belonging concerns for retention in stem
Vaughn, AllisonReinholz, Daniel
Women continue to be more likely than men to leave science for non-science majors. This study focuses on the social influences and psychological precursors that predict women’s retention in these fields—namely, the development of a science identity and the reduction of belonging uncertainty through conversations with others. Previous research on science interest and intentions to persist has demonstrated the importance of social recognition feedback, defined here as occurring when students feel that others see them as a science person and are encouraging and responsive during conversations about their science interests. Using longitudinal archival data of science undergraduates, the present study found partial support for hypotheses. As expected, social recognition predicted increases in science identity for women (but not for men), and these changes, in turn, translated to greater retention in science. However, hypotheses related to mitigating belonging concerns were primarily unsupported. Future directions and implications are discussed.
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2018
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