Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 91–110 | Cite as

Viewing Clinical Research Career Development Through the Lens of Social Cognitive Career Theory

  • Lori L. Bakken
  • Angela Byars-Winston
  • Min-fen Wang


Issues such as, over commitment, insufficient time, and lack of funding, threaten physicians’ entry and sustainability in a research career pathway. Social cognitive career theory is presented as a conceptual framework to critically examine the limitations of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) efforts to promote the career development of physician–scientists. Special attention is given to the unique challenges of promoting this career pathway for women and underrepresented minorities. The authors propose enhanced recommendations for the career development of physician–scientists and research questions for future studies and program development aimed at advancing the nation’s efforts to promote clinical research.


career development physician–scientist research training self-efficacy social cognition Social Cognitive Career Theory 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. NIH Roadmap Overview (2004). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved January 12, 2005 from
  2. Academy of Medical Sciences2003Resuscitating clinical research in the United KingdomBritish. Medical Journal32710411043Google Scholar
  3. Albert, K., Luzzo, D. 1999The role of perceived barriers in career development: a social cognitive perspectiveJournal of Counseling & Development77431436Google Scholar
  4. Andrews, N. 2002The other physician-scientist problem: where have all the young girls gone?Nature Medicine8439441Google Scholar
  5. Bakken, L. 2005Who are physician-scientists’ role models? Gender makes a differenceAcademic Medicine80502506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bakken, L. Lichtenstein, M. the Association of Clinical Research Training Program Directors Evaluation & Accreditation Committee2005A Survey of the Impact of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Research Curriculum Awards (K30) Between 1999 and 2004Journal of Investigative Medicine53123127Google Scholar
  7. Bakken, L., Sheridan, J., Carnes, M. 2003Gender differences among physician-scientists in self-assessed abilities to perform clinical researchAcademic Medicine7812811286Google Scholar
  8. Bandura, A. 1986Social Foundations of Thought and Action,Prentice-HallEnglewood Cliffs, NJGoogle Scholar
  9. Bandura, A. 1997Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control,FreemanNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Bhutta, Z. 2003Practising just medicine in an unjust worldBritish Medical Journal32710001001Google Scholar
  11. Bieschke, K., Herbert, J., Bard, C. 1998Using a social cognitive model to explain research productivity among rehabilitation counselor education facultyRehabilitation Education12116Google Scholar
  12. Bossworth, K. 1994Developing collaborative skills in college studentsBossworth, KrisHamilton, Sharon J. eds. Collaborative Learning: Underlying Processes and Effective Techniques Jossey-Bass PublishersSan Francisco2532Google Scholar
  13. Buckley, L., Sanders, K., Shih, M., Hampton, C. 2000aAttitudes of clinical faculty about career progress, career success and recognition, and commitment to academic medicineArchives of Internal Medicine16026252629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Buckley, L., Sanders, K., Shih, M., Kallar, S., Hampton, C. 2000bObstacles to promotion? Values of women faculty about career success and recognitionAcademic Medicine75283288Google Scholar
  15. Carlson-Dakes, C. & Sanders, K. (1998, November). A Movement Approach to Organizational Change. Understanding the Influences of a Collaborative Faculty Development Program. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Miami, FLGoogle Scholar
  16. Carr, P., Ash, A., Friedman, R., Scaramucci, A., Barnett, R., Szalacha, L.,  et al. 1998Relation of family responsibilities and gender to the productivity and career satisfaction of medical facultyAnnals of Internal Medicine129532538Google Scholar
  17. Cate, O. ten, Snell, L., Mann, K., Vermunt, J. 2004Orienting teaching toward the learning processAcademic Medicine79219228Google Scholar
  18. Caudron, S. 1997Love vs. WorkWorkforce766671Google Scholar
  19. Caudron, S. (1999). Get a Life! Workforce. Retrieved January 6, 2005, from
  20. Chesler, N., Chesler, M. 2002Gender-informed mentoring strategies for women engineering scholars: On establishing a caring communityJournal of Engineering Education914955Google Scholar
  21. Cohen, G., Steele, C., Ross, L. 1999The mentor’s dilemma: Providing critical feedback across the racial dividePersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin2513021318Google Scholar
  22. Debowski, S. 2004Cultivating hidden assets: The developmental needs of university career researchersResearch paper presented at the 2004 annual conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, IncCurtin University of Technology, Sarawak, MalaysiaGoogle Scholar
  23. DeGraaf, R. (1995). Counselor self-efficacy development: An examination over time of the influence of trainee counseling experience, negative affectivity, and the supervisory alliance. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Loyola University, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  24. Gelso, C., Lent, R. 2000Scientific training and scholarly productivity: The person, the training environment, and their interactionBrown, S.D.Lent, R.W. eds. Handbook of Counseling Psychology3John Wiley & Sons, IncNew York109139Google Scholar
  25. Gloria, A., Robinson Kurpius, S. 2001Influences of self-beliefs, social support, and comfort in the university environment on the academic nonpersistence decisions of american indian undergraduatesCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology788102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gloria, A., Robinson Kurpius, S., Hamilton, K., Willson, M. 1999African American students’ persistence at a predominantly White University: Influences of social support, University Comfort, and self-beliefsJournal of College Student Development40257268Google Scholar
  27. Goldstein, J., Brown, M. 1997The clinical investigator: bewitched, bothered and bewildered-but still belovedThe Journal of Clinical Investigation9928032812Google Scholar
  28. Hackett, G., Betz, N. 1989An exploration of the mathematics self-efficacy/mathematics performance correspondenceJournal for Research in Mathematics Education20261273Google Scholar
  29. Hackett, G., Byars, A. 1996Social cognitive theory and the career development of African American womenThe Career Development Quarterly44322340Google Scholar
  30. Jeffords, R., Scheidt, M., Thibadoux, G. 1997Getting the best from staffJournal of Accountancy184101105Google Scholar
  31. Kahn, J., Nauta, M. 2001Social-cognitive predictors of first-year college persistence: The importance of proximal assessmentResearch in Higher Education42633652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Knowles, M.S. & Associates (1984). Self-directed Learning for Physicians at the University of Southern California. In: Andragogy in Action (1st ed., pp. 299–310). Jossey-Bass: San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  33. Kotchen, T., Lindquist, T., Malik, K., Ehrenfeld, E. 2004NIH peer review of grant applications for clinical researchJournal of the American Medical Association291836843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kupfer, D., Hyman, S., Schatzberg, A., Pincus, H., Reynolds, C. 2002Recruiting and retaining future generations of physician scientists in mental healthArchives of General Psychiatry59657660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lent, R., Brown, S. 1996Social cognitive approach to career development: an overviewThe Career Development Quarterly44310321Google Scholar
  36. Lent, R., Brown, S., Hackett, G. 1994Toward a unifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice and performanceJournal of Vocational Behavior4579122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lent, R., Brown, S., Hackett, G. 2000Contextual supports and barriers to career choice: A social cognitive analysisJournal of Counseling Psychology473649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lent, R., Lopez, F., Bieschke, K. 1991Mathematics self-efficacy: sources and relation to science-based career choiceJournal of Counseling Psychology38424430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lent, R.W., Brown, S.D., Sheu, H., Schmidt, J., Brenner, B.R., Gloster, C.S., Wilkins, G., Schmidt, L.C., Lyons, H., Treistman, D. 2005Social cognitive predictors of academic interests and goals in engineering: utility for women and students at historically black universitiesJournal of Counseling Psychology528492Google Scholar
  40. Makaram, S. 1995Interprofessional cooperationMedical Education296569Google Scholar
  41. Mann, K. 2004The role of educational theory in continuing medical education: Has it helped us?The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions24S22S30Google Scholar
  42. Moskowitz, J., Thompson, J. 2001Enhancing the clinical research pipeline: training approaches for a new centuryAcademic Medicine76307315Google Scholar
  43. Nathan, D. 1998Clinical research: perceptions, reality, and proposed solutionsJournal of the American Medical Association28014271431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nathan, D. 2002Careers in translational clinical research-historical perspectives, future challengesJournal of the American Medical Association28724242427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nathan, D., Varmus, H. 2000The National Institutes of Health and Clinical Research: a progress reportNature Medicine612011203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nathan, D., Wilson, J. 2003Clinical Research and the NIH – a report cardNew England Journal of Medicine34918601865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, & Institute of Medicine1997Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and EngineeringNational Academy PressWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  48. Orczyk C.L. (1990). The effects of critical career events on self-efficacy and scholarly achievement. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association, Boston, MA, April 16–20Google Scholar
  49. Parson, L.A., Sands, R.G., Duane, J. 1992Sources of career support for university facultyResearch in Higher Education33161176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Phillips, J., Russell, R. 1994Research self-efficacy, the research training environment, and research productivity among graduate students in counseling psychologyThe Counseling Psychologist22628641Google Scholar
  51. Post, P., Stewart, M., Smith, P. 1991Self-efficacy, interest, and consideration of math/science and non-math/science occupations among Black freshmenJournal of Vocational Behavior38179186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pratto, F., Espinoza, P. 2001Gender, ethnicity, and powerJournal of Social Issues57763780Google Scholar
  53. Richardson, D. & Onwuegbuzie, A.J. (2002). Attitudes toward Research of African-American Graduate Students as a Function of Locality. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Chattanooga, TN, November 6–8Google Scholar
  54. Rotberg, H., Brown, D., Ware, W. 1987Career self-efficacy expectations and perceived range of career options in community college studentsJournal of Counseling Psychology34164170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Royalty, G., Reising, G. 1986The research training of counseling psychologists: What the professionals sayThe Counseling Psychologist144960Google Scholar
  56. Schmidt, D., Duenas, G. 2002Incentives to encourage worker-friendly organizationsPublic Personnel Management31293308Google Scholar
  57. Segal, S., Lloyd, T., Houts, P., Stillman, P., Jungas, R., Greer, R. 1990The association between students’ research involvement in Medical School and their Postgraduate Medical ActivitiesAcademic Medicine65530533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Short, L.M.,  et al. 1997Evaluation of the Module on Domestic Violence at the UCLA School of MedicineAcademic Medicine72S75S92Google Scholar
  59. Sitthi-amorn, C., Somrongthong, R. 2000Strengthening health research capacity in developing countries: a critical element for achieving health equityBritish Medical Journal321813817Google Scholar
  60. Stalker, J. 1994Athene in academe: Women mentoring women in the academyInternational Journal of Lifelong Education13361372Google Scholar
  61. Steele, C. 1997A threat in the airAmerican Psychologist52613629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Vrugt, A., Koenis, S. 2002Perceived self-efficacy, personal goals, social comparison, and scientific productivityApplied Psychology: An International Review51593607Google Scholar
  63. Vasil, L. 1992Self-efficacy expectations and causal atrributions for achievement among Male and Female University FacultyJournal of Vocational Behavior41259269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wang, Min-fen 2005Physician–Scientists’ Learning in Communities of PracticeUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUnpublished Doctoral DissertationGoogle Scholar
  65. Warde, C., Allen, W., Gelberg, L. 1996Physician role conflict and resulting career changes: gender and generational differencesJournal of General Internal Medicine11729735Google Scholar
  66. Weitzman, L. 1994Multiple-role realism: a theoretical framework for the process of planning to combine career and family rolesApplied & Preventive Psychology31525Google Scholar
  67. Weitzman, L., Fitzgerald, L. 1996The development and initial validation of scales to assess attitudes toward multiple role planningJournal of Career Assessment4269284Google Scholar
  68. Wolf, M. 2002Clinical research career development: the individual perspectiveAcademic Medicine7710841088Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori L. Bakken
    • 1
  • Angela Byars-Winston
    • 2
  • Min-fen Wang
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis and Counseling Psychology, School of Education, and Department of MedicineMedical School, University of Wisconsin MadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Counseling Psychology, School of EducationUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, School of EducationUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations