Citizenship status and career self-efficacy: An intersectional study of biomedical trainees in the United States

PLoS One. 2024 Mar 20;19(3):e0296246. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0296246. eCollection 2024.


This study examines the intersectional role of citizenship and gender with career self-efficacy amongst 10,803 doctoral and postdoctoral trainees in US universities. These biomedical trainees completed surveys administered by 17 US institutions that participated in the National Institutes of Health Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (NIH BEST) Programs. Findings indicate that career self-efficacy of non-citizen trainees is significantly lower than that of US citizen trainees. While lower career efficacy was observed in women compared with men, it was even lower for non-citizen female trainees. Results suggest that specific career interests may be related to career self-efficacy. Relative to US citizen trainees, both male and female non-citizen trainees showed higher interest in pursuing a career as an academic research investigator. In comparison with non-citizen female trainees and citizen trainees of all genders, non-citizen male trainees expressed the highest interest in research-intensive (and especially principal investigator) careers. The authors discuss potential causes for these results and offer recommendations for increasing trainee career self-efficacy which can be incorporated into graduate and postdoctoral training.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Career Choice
  • Citizenship
  • Education, Graduate
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Research Personnel / education
  • United States

Grants and funding

Funding support included the Common Fund NIH Director’s Biomedical Research Workforce Innovation Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) Awards (DP7OD020317) which helped to support this work - including DP7OD018425 (Cornell University, SSV); DP7OD020314 (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, SC); DP7OD020317 (Vanderbilt University, RC, JV); DP7OD018422 (CU Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus, IW); DP7OD020317 (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, RLL), DP7OD018421 (University of Massachusetts, CNF). This project was supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) - Science of Science Policy Approach to Analyzing and Innovating the Biomedical Research Enterprise (SCISIPBIO) Award (GM-19-011) - 1R01GM140282 (UNC, RLL). In addition, support was provided by the National Cancer Institute NCI3P30 CA072720-20 (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, SC). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.