Is Seeing Believing? A Longitudinal Study of Vividness of the Future and Its Effects on Academic Self-Efficacy and Success in College

  • Samanta L. McMichael (Creator)
  • Michael T. Bixter (Creator)
  • Morris A. Okun (Creator)
  • Cameron J. Bunker (Creator)
  • Oliver Graudejus (Creator)
  • Kevin Grimm (Creator)
  • Sau Kwan (Creator)
  • Morris A. Okun (Creator)



This research followed students over their first 2 years of college. During this time, many students lose sight of their goals, leading to poor academic performance and leaving STEM and business majors. This research was the first to examine longitudinal changes in future vividness, how those changes impact academic success, and identify sex differences in those relationships. Students who started college with clear pictures of graduation and life after graduation, and those who gained clarity, were more likely to believe in their academic abilities, and, in turn, earn a higher cumulative GPA, and persist in STEM and business. Compared to men, women reported greater initial vividness in both domains. In vividness of graduation, women maintained their advantage with no sex differences in how vividness changed. However, men grew in vividness of life after graduation while women remained stagnant. These findings have implications for interventions to increase academic performance and persistence.
Date made available2021
PublisherSAGE Journals

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