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Does Causality Orientation Moderate the Relationship between Assignment Choice and Academic Achievement in Air Force Officers Performing the Nuclear Mission?

by Christopher J. Ewing

Paperback e-Book PDF
Institution: Capella University
Advisor(s): James Stacks, Ph.D.
Degree: Ph.D. in Psychology
Year: 2011
Volume: 69 pages
ISBN-10: 1599423863
ISBN-13: 9781599423869


United States Air Force Officers are not often given the choice of career fields when they enter active duty. This may have some impact on performance on an academic measure in the assigned field. In addition to choice, levels of two causality orientations were assessed using Deci and Ryan's 1985 General Causality Orientation Scale, 12-Vignette version. Causality orientations are posited to exist in varying degrees in every individual and, for the purposes of this study, are tested to determine their association with academic achievement in a situation of limited choice. The overall aim of this study is to determine whether choice and/or causality orientation predict academic achievement in missileers, and if a moderation model represents the relationship between the predictors and academic achievement. Missileers at Minot Air Force Base, the 91st Missile Wing, were surveyed and data regarding choice, a single month's aggregate academic scores and causality orientation were collected. Neither choice nor causality orientation alone predicted monthly test scores. Causality orientation moderated the relationship between choice and monthly test scores. Those respondents who reported that they had received their assignment of choice had higher monthly test scores when they also had high levels of autonomy relative to controlled orientation. In the group which reported they had not received their assignment of choice, there were no associations between choice, causality orientation and monthly test scores.

About The Author

Christopher Ewing entered active duty following his commissioning from the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Saint Louis University in 2004 where he graduated with his BA in English. He has served as an ICBM Combat Crew Member, a Flight Commander, Training Command Instructor, in addition to his work as an online adjunct faculty member. Dr. Ewing is a proud Air Force brat, having lived his early life moving from Air Force Base to Air Force Base. He and his wife, Melissa, are the proud parents of two sons: David and Timothy.