Social Cognitive Career Theory at 25: Empirical Status of the Interest, Choice, and Performance Models


Social cognitive career theory (SCCT) consists of five interrelated models. Its original models focus on the determinants of educational and occupational interest, choice, and performance (including persistence) (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). A fourth model is aimed at satisfaction and other aspects of well-being in academic and career-related settings (Lent & Brown, 2006a, 2008), and the fifth model highlights processes whereby people manage common developmental tasks and uncommon challenges across the career lifespan (Lent & Brown, 2013). Each of the models seeks to integrate relevant streams of inquiry, with the larger goal of producing a unifying perspective on educational and career behavior. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of SCCT's introduction, we consider the empirical status of the original three models as well as inquiry on the sources of self-efficacy and outcome expectations, which undergird the three models. Drawing primarily on meta-analytic findings, we examine the tenability of each of the models, observe the roles of particular social cognitive variables within and across model tests, note moderators of model relationships and anomalous findings, point to hypotheses that have been understudied, and suggest additional directions for future inquiry.


Author and publisher information is provided below. Note that many publishers charge a fee or membership for full access. Permission/access must be requested through the publisher or author directly.


R.W. Lent
Publication Year