Social Cognitive Predictors of Academic and Life Satisfaction: Measurement and Structural Equivalence Across Three Racial/Ethnic Groups

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Abstract

Data of 306 Caucasian American, 284 Asian American, and 259 Latino/a American college students were analyzed in this study to test a modified version of Lent and Brown’s (2006, 2008) satisfaction model in the academic context. In addition to the full set of variables hypothesized in the original model, the modified academic satisfaction model also included independent and interdependent self-construals to represent one’s cultural orientations. Comparisons between the hypothesized model and 2 alternative models showed that direct paths from extraversion and emotional stability added significantly to the predictions of academic satisfaction and life satisfaction for all 3 racial/ethnic groups while those from independent and interdependent self-construals also had the same effects for Latino/a American students. The hypothesized model offered excellent fit to the data of all 3 racial/ethnic groups. Consistent with theoretical prediction, academic supports, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, or goal progress formed pathways that mediated the relations of personality traits and self-construals to academic satisfaction or life satisfaction across 3 groups. Although full measurement equivalence (configural invariance and metric invariance) was observed, 4 structural paths and 16 indirect effects differed significantly by race/ethnicity. Most of these differences in structural paths and indirect effects occurred between Caucasian Americans and Asian Americans. On balance, findings of the study provided evidence for the cross-racial/ethnic validity of the modified academic satisfaction model while identifying racial/ethnic differences that might have useful clinical implications.

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