Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

The Role of Work-Related Skills and Career Role Models in Adolescent Career Maturity

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

The Role of Work-Related Skills and Career Role Models in Adolescent Career Maturity

Article excerpt

Special Section:

Adolescent Career Development

The authors used data for 2,722 British adolescents, ages 14-18 years, to explore whether work-related skills and career role models are associated with career maturity when sociodemographic characteristics (age, socioeconomic status, gender, family structure), family support (mother involvement, father involvement), and personal characteristics (self-confidence, academic motivation) are controlled. Having workrelated skills and having a career role model were positively associated with career maturity, and having career pressure was negatively associated with career maturity. Family structure and socioeconomic status were unrelated to career maturity. Academic motivation, mother involvement, father involvement, and self-confidence were related to career maturity at the bivariate but not at the multivariate level.

Career development and career plans in adolescence are related to both mental and physical health and can have long-term outcomes (DeGoede, Spruijt, Iedema, & Meeus, 1999). Several factors have been shown to be related to career development in adolescence. These influences include factors within the individual and factors within the family. Regarding individual factors, career aspirations in adolescence have consistently been found to be associated with high socioeconomic status, internal locus of control, self-esteem, high education aspirations, academic achievement (Mau, Domnick, & Ellsworth, 1995; McDonald & Jessell, 1992; Rojewski & Yang, 1997), and intact families (VanTassel-Baska, 1989), while career maturity and stress are inversely related (Meeus, Dekovic, & Iedema, 1997). Studies have also explored the relationship between part-time work and career development, but findings have been inconsistent. In their review of the effects of part-time employment on adolescents, Kablaoui and Pautler (1991), for example, found that although in several studies employment had a negative impact on grades, homework, extracurricular activities, and academic relationships, in other studies, it was associated with increased personal responsibility and earning power, the development of social skills, improved grades and participation in school-related activities, lower unemployment rate after high school graduation, and better jobs after graduation. More recently, Skorikov and Vondracek (1997) showed that in their adolescent sample, peripheral work aspects were less valued because the adolescents were involved in part-time work. On the other hand, the role of family as a fundamental influence in the career development of adolescents has been stressed by some classic theories of career development and choice (Santos & Coimbra, 2000). Although parents do not necessarily attempt to influence their children's particular occupational choices, they are active agents in influencing their children in a broad range of areas in career development (Young & Friesen, 1992). Parental support and parental pressure (Liu, 1998) as well as perceived parental expectations have been associated with career expectations in adolescence (Mau et al., 1995; Rojewski & Yang, 1997). Parental involvement has also been negatively associated with career indecision (Murry & Mosidi, 1993) and positively associated with career exploration (Schmitt-Rodermund & Vondracek, 1999). Secure attachment relationships with parents have been shown to be associated with greater environmental and self-exploration, as well as greater nontraditional exploration (Ketterson & Blustein, 1997). Recent research on the role of family on career development has distinguished the effect of mothers from that of fathers. In a study of university students, Guerra and Braungart-Rieker (1999) showed that participants' career indecision was predicted by less maternal but not by less paternal acceptance. This finding might reflect the different perceptions the participants had of their mothers and fathers; although fathers were viewed as more encouraging of independence than mothers, support by the mother may be particularly salient in decision making. …

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