Toward a Model of Social Influence that Explains Minority Student Integration into the Scientific Community

"This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record." Students from several ethnic minority groups are underrepresented in the sciences, indicating that minority students more frequently drop out of the scientific career path than nonminority students. Viewed from a perspective of social influence, this pattern suggests that minority students do not integrate into the scientific community at the same rate as nonminority students. Kelman (1958, 2006) described a tripartite integration model of social influence by which a person orients to a social system. To test whether this model predicts integration into the scientific community, we conducted analyses of data from a national panel of minority science students. A structural equation model framework showed that self-efficacy (operationalized to be consistent with Kelman's rule orientation) predicted student intentions to pursue a scientific career. However, when identification as a scientist and internalization of values were added to the model, self-efficacy became a poorer predictor of intention. Additional mediation analyses supported the conclusion that while having scientific self-efficacy is important, identifying with and endorsing the values of the social system reflect a deeper integration and more durable motivation to persist as a scientist.