Trajectories in quantitative and humanities self-efficacy during the first year of college

Jaeyun Han, Ellen L. Usher, Christia S. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although many studies have examined self-efficacy cross-sectionally, few have investigated how undergraduate students' self-efficacy changes over time, particularly during their first year of postsecondary education. The purpose of this study was to explore the trajectories of first-year college students' (N = 2167) self-efficacy in quantitative and humanities subjects and its relationship to academic achievement. A parallel process second-order latent growth model revealed that students' self-efficacy increased simultaneously in each broad domain. Whereas quantitative self-efficacy favored male students and STEM majors at baseline, the rate of change was slower for STEM majors than for non-STEM or undeclared majors. Humanities self-efficacy favored female students at baseline. Only the growth factors of quantitative self-efficacy were positively related to students' first-year cumulative GPA, controlling for gender, major, and high school GPA. Findings can help instructors know when, and to some extent, for whom to offer self-efficacy support during the first year of college.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102054
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Achievement
  • First-year of college
  • Gender
  • STEM
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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