Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



The adult learner can be defined as someone who, while enrolled in an academic institution, is involved in other major life responsibilities such as work or family obligations. Recently, there has been an increase in the number working adults pursuing a college education. However, empirical research regarding the job-related utility of obtaining this education is limited. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to examine not only the expectations regarding how a degree may be useful for career advancement, but the work and life outcomes associated with obtaining the degree as well. This study examined job-related utility perceptions for obtaining an online college degree. Furthermore, it examined the overlap between Expected Utility and Actual Utility, and the extent to which congruence between the two may influence one’s psychological contract at work and have consequences for other related job outcomes. Overall, the results showed Actual Utility was positively related to Psychological Contract Breach, Job Performance, and Job Commitment, suggesting the perceived usefulness of a degree may determine how adult learners are impacted within the organization, regardless of prior expectations of obtaining the degree.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hicks, Jason

Included in

Psychology Commons