Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. E. Paulette Isaac-Savage


Dr. E. Paulette Isaac-Savage

Dr. Angela Coker

Dr. Gwendolyn Turner

Dr. Dionne M. Rosser-Mims

Dr. Jim Berger


The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a significant difference in career decision self-efficacy for African American women after participating in a short-term, adult education intervention program and to give voice to barriers and challenges experienced by African American women in their career development and the coping strategies they use to overcome these obstacles. In this quasi-experimental mixed methods study, a snowball sample of 20 African American women participated in a short-term adult education intervention program designed using Black feminist critical social theory and the career management model of social cognitive career theory. A pre-test-post-test control group design with delayed treatment was used to conduct the study. The sample included an experimental group (n=11) and a delayed treatment/control group (n=9) that participated in a career management information session before the intervention. Wilcoxon exact testing of Career Decision Self-Efficacy-Short Form scores revealed statistically significant differences for the experimental group (Z=-2.298, p=.010, r=.49), delayed treatment group (Z=-2.668, p=.002, r=.62), control group (Z=-2.036, p=.023, r=.48), and between post-information session and post-intervention session for the delayed treatment group (Z=-2.253, p=.012, r=.53). Documents from the discussion of career development barriers, challenges, and coping strategies were analyzed using critical Black feminist narrative qualitative analysis and the following eight themes were noted: external barriers of a) intersectionality of oppressions and b) work life balance; internal challenges of c) self-concept, d) emotions, and e) access to resources; and, coping strategies of f) personal agency, g) collective agency, and h) spiritual agency.