Examining students' perceptions of study abroad programs involving sport through application of the social cognitive career theory



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With sport organizations venturing into the global realm, it is important to discover sport management students' interest in studying abroad in sport. Previous research has attempted to discover career intentions using the social cognitive career theory (SCCT). SCCT focuses on the interaction of several factors which include personal behaviors such as self-efficacy, outcome expectations, choice goals, barriers, and supports. The purpose of this thesis was to identify barriers and supports to studying abroad, the relationship between the barriers and supports and one's study abroad self-efficacy, and the relationship among study abroad self-efficacy, outcome expectations, interests, and choice goals (i.e., intent). Two different studies were administered with Study One taking a qualitative approach to better analyze supports and barriers, while Study Two incorporated the results from Study One, providing a quantitative aspect to the research. Data were collected from sport management undergraduate students from a southwestern Division I institution for Study One (n = 19), as well as for Study Two (n = 71). Questionnaires for both studies were developed using the basic tenets of SCCT to measure self-efficacy, interest, intent, supports, barriers, and outcome expectations to studying abroad in sport. Data analysis included coding data into themes and calculating percentages for Study One, while items for Study Two were analyzed for reverse coding, and descriptive statistics for the study variables were performed. Means, standard deviations, and bivariate correlations were included with the statistics in Study Two. Likewise, linear regression and bivariate correlations were performed to evaluate the basic relationships between all the study variables within Study Two, while reliability estimates (Cronbach's alpha) for each study variable were assessed. The results revealed that barriers (e.g., cultural differences) and supports (e.g., further education) were correlated with self-efficacy. Furthermore, there were correlations between interest and intent, self-efficacy and interest, self-efficacy and intent, and self-efficacy and outcome expectations. Recommendations and implications were provided for sport management academia followed by limitations and future directions of this study.