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Department of Psychology
Iowa State University
Ames, IA - 50010

University of Missouri - Columbia, Ph.D., 1986
University of Missouri - Columbia, MS, 1984

Research Interests:

One of my areas of interest is the vocational arena whereby I am interested in applying self determination theory to explain career well-being. Self determination theory asserts that people’s well-being is determined by the extent to which their needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness are met. Moreover, the theory asserts that environmental supports and barriers help or hinder a person’s capacity to have their needs met. For this line of work we have two populations of interest, one is college students and the second is college faculty. In the past we have also investigated key individual difference constructs in vocational psychology including vocational interest across John Holland’s six domains, personality traits, and vocational self-efficacy.
A second area of interest for me is in the counselor training area. I am fundamentally interested in understanding how someone becomes effective in their work with clients. I have adapted Bandura’s social cognitive theory to counselor training called the Social Cognitive Model of Counselor Training (Larson, 1998a; Larson, 1998b; and Larson & Daniels, 1998). The model asserts that effective counseling actions come about due to the dynamic interaction of those actions with the counselor’s personal agency, their domain specific environment (namely the supervision session and the client session). The counselor’s personal agency consists of the cognitive and affective processes. One dominant construct within the counselor’s personal agency is one’s counseling self-efficacy, that is, the confidence to counselor effectively in the next session. The counseling self-efficacy measure I developed called the Counseling Self-Estimate Inventory (Larson et al., 1992) has generated the most interest in the field. We have also developed other measures to operationalize different components of the model. We have several data sets from counseling trainees and from counselors in the field that are in various stages of being submitted for publication.