Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Debra A. Major

Committee Member

Xiaoxiao Hu

Committee Member

Cathy Lau-Barraco


It is nationally concerning that many students who begin as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors do not complete their degrees. Of additional concern is that among the STEM students who do persist to degree completion, women are severely underrepresented. The present research investigates the extent to which anticipated conflicts between work and family life (AWFC) are negatively related to students’ embeddedness in their STEM majors, especially the STEM embeddedness of women. The hypothesized model was tested using structural equation modeling in Mplus-7 with a sample of 218 STEM students from an archival database. As hypothesized, work-family decision making self-efficacy had a negative relationship with both anticipated work interference with family (AWIF) and anticipated family interference with work (AFIW). Notably, only AFIW was negatively related to major embeddedness and only the indirect effect of WFSE on major embeddedness through AFIW was positive and significant, partially supporting each corresponding hypothesis. Additionally, the relationships among study variables did not significantly differ by gender. However, the relationship between AFIW and major embeddedness approached significance for women. Implications of this research, future directions, and study limitations are discussed.


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