Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Lisa Platt

Committee Co-Chair

Jeffrey Daniels

Committee Member

Sara Troupe

Committee Member

Christine Schimmel


Women experience barriers that impede progress in a career and career goals, resulting in reduced career-related outcomes. Although gender discrimination has been identified as a contributing factor to the differential career development of men and women in the United States (U.S.), women’s career-related outcomes may be better explained by unaccounted for career barriers. Most notably, internalization of sociocultural standards of beauty, depression, and anxiety have been found to reduce women’s career-related outcomes. Therefore, the goal of this study was to explore career barriers that currently impact women’s career development in the U.S. Based on Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) and previous research, it was hypothesized that internalization of sociocultural standards of beauty would predict women’s perception of career barriers, as measured by lack of confidence, inadequate preparation, and decision-making difficulties, with state physical appearance anxiety and depression as potential moderators. Results of this study yielded partial support. Internalization of sociocultural standards of beauty predicted perception of career barriers, as measured by lack of confidence and decision-making difficulties, but no moderation effects were found. This study provides groundwork for future research to build upon and further understanding of the career development of women in the U.S. This study also informs clinical work by emphasizing the importance of providing multicultural counseling that integrates personal and career counseling.