Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Walker Buboltz


The National Academy of Sciences released a report that discussed the increased need to improve interest and retention of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers in the United States. Early childhood factors within one’s family plays an essential role in the process of career decision making, self-concept, and vocational identity. The current study examined the relationship experiential avoidance has on early family dynamics (i.e., family environment, differentiation of self, attachment, and perceived parenting) and perceived motivation in STEM. A total of 231 participants currently enrolled in a Southern University taking a STEM course (Psychology, Biology, Social Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, and Physical Science) were surveyed using online Likert-Type questionnaires. Participants were surveyed to determine the potential moderating role of experiential avoidance on the relation between early family dynamics and STEM motivation. Results indicated evidence that experiential avoidance moderates the relation between avoidant attachment style and perceived parental care on STEM motivation.