Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

The Contribution of Self-Efficacy in Assessing Interests Using the Self-Directed Search

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

The Contribution of Self-Efficacy in Assessing Interests Using the Self-Directed Search

Article excerpt

The assessment of interests in career counseling has important implications for career decision making, and three of the more familiar elements in these assessments are ability self-estimates in relation to peers, competence to perform tasks, and self-efficacy. A clearer understanding of the contribution of these elements in the measurement of interests is important to career assessment, career decision making, and career theory development. Prediger (1999) noted that individual career decision making could be facilitated if preferences for activities, skills confidence, ability self-estimates, and occupational matches were included as interrelated components of a comprehensive conceptual structure of the nature of interest. He indicated that some prior research supports the proposition that Holland's (1997) RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional) theory provides key elements of such a conceptual structure. Prediger's (1999) observation provides a platform from which the present investigation was conducted. Ultimately, we seek to inform career counselors who use the Self-Directed Search (SDS; Holland, Powell, & Fritzsche, 1994) about the contributions of clients' perceived abilities and skills and relevant self-efficacy in the identification and clarification of interests.

Betz (2007) stated that "an integration of personality with Holland interests and confidence would be a useful direction of research and theory" (p. 418). Our understanding, however, is that the SDS is designed to incorporate measurement of perceived abilities and skills (competencies) into the overall summary scores of the respective RIASEC domains. Thus, we raise the question, Has this integration of interests and confidence already been accomplished ipso facto into the existing structure of the SDS? Holland (1997), author of the SDS and RIASEC theorist, believed that interest types are actually personality types and that self-efficacy is embedded into one's overall personality structure. For example, Holland asserted that "it is not necessary to administer a self-efficacy measure to identify a person's beliefs about his or her vocational self-efficacy. The low points in an interest profile indicate the areas where a person lacks the self-confidence to perform well" (p. 209).

Thus, the SDS may not require an independent external measure of self-efficacy to incorporate this construct into the assessment of interests. Two of its original scales, Self-Estimates and Competencies, may serve as embedded measures of self-efficacy within each of the six RIASEC domains. Although the constructs and scales of interest (i.e., interest, self-efficacy, ability self-estimates, and competence) in this study have been examined together with previous research, the methods used in this study involved published instruments commonly used by practitioners. This is a unique aspect of this study.

Betz (2007) reviewed research relevant to the assessment of self-efficacy and interests. One such study (Feehan & Johnston, 1999) examined SDS summary scores (Holland, Fritzsche, & Powell, 1994) in relation to self-efficacy as measured by the Task-Specific Occupational Self-Efficacy Scale (Osipow, Temple, & Rooney, 1993). The results were that the measurement of interests by the SDS predicted career self-efficacy. Hansen and Bubany (2008) used measures of self-efficacy and ability self-estimates other than the published instruments used in our study to examine ability judgments of college students. Among other things, their findings supported the proposition that ability self-estimates involve a normative orientation, but self-efficacy measures do not. Feehan and Johnston (1999) specifically suggested examining the SDS in relation to the Skills Confidence Inventory (SCI; Betz, Borgen, & Harmon, 1996) as a measure of self-efficacy. Nevertheless, our review of the literature indicates that there was no follow-up to this proposed path of inquiry. …

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