Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





William E. Cross, Jr.

Subject Categories

Social Psychology


college students, family work relationship, work and family roles


While researchers have long been interested in the experiences of people who combine paid work with non-work roles (e.g., spouse, parent, eldercare provider), relatively little attention has been given to the expectations that people hold prior to occupying these roles, such as the amount of role conflict or fulfillment anticipated as a result of participating in both work and non-work roles. Even less is known about the factors that shape these expectations. For college students, these factors may include experiences of a college education (e.g., coursework that addresses gender roles, interacting with successful role models), yet, ironically, few studies have explored the role of educational experiences in work-family expectations. The current study attempted to fill this void by first developing a new instrument designed to survey college student's family-work expectations and secondly by conducting an online survey of 134 college students using the new instrument along with measures of work-family conflict management self-efficacy, anticipated work-family conflict, anticipated work-family enrichment, and personal importance of work and family roles. Finally, Lent's Social Cognitive Career Choice Theory that is frequently used to map college students' career choice was used to scaffold college students' work-family expectations, and data from the current study were employed to test the model. The first examination of the data did not confirm the model; however, with a minor adjustment, good-fit was accomplished. This study adds to the literature in several unique ways: by providing a psychometrically-sound measure of a new construct (i.e., influence of educational experiences) that previously had been overlooked, by generating much-needed information about an understudied topic, and by contributing an original theoretical framework to the area of work-family expectations.