Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Rottinghaus, Patrick

Abstract

Using self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985b) as the theoretical framework, this study examined the following three hypotheses: 1) there is a positive relationship between the level of perceived parental need support and the level of major satisfaction; 2) there is a positive relationship between the level of perceived parental need support and the level of autonomous self-regulation in their agricultural major; and 3) the level of autonomous self-regulation partially mediates the relationship between the levels of perceived parental need support and major satisfaction. Participants included 536 college students with declared agricultural majors in a college of agriculture at a large Midwestern university. Measures included the Perceptions of Parents Scale (POPS; Robbins, 1994), the Self-regulation Questionnaire (SRQ; Ryan & Connell, 1989) and the Academic Major Satisfaction Survey (AMSS; Nauta, 2007). As hypothesized, autonomous self-regulation mediated the relationship between perceived parental need support and major satisfaction. Specifically, autonomous self regulation fully mediated the relationship between perceived mother need support and major satisfaction and only partially mediated the relationship between father need support and major satisfaction. Implications of this study include the potential relevance of self-determination theory to the career development literature and major satisfaction generally.

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