Toward a Model of Social Influence that Explains Minority Student Integration into the Scientific Community.
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Students from several ethnic minority groups are underrepresented in the sciences, such that minority students more frequently drop out of the scientific career path than non-minority 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 non-minority students. Kelman (1958, 2006) describes a tripartite integration model of social influence (TIMSI) by which a person orients to a social system. To test if 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 consistent with Kelman's 'rule-orientation') predicted student intentions to pursue a scientific career. However, when identification as a scientist and internalization of values are added to the model, self-efficacy becomes a poorer predictor of intention. Additional mediation analyses support 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.