Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

The Roles of Negative Career Thoughts and Sense of Coherence in Predicting Career Decision Status

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

The Roles of Negative Career Thoughts and Sense of Coherence in Predicting Career Decision Status

Article excerpt

Sense of coherence (SOC) has recently entered the domain of career development research (Höge & Bussing, 2004; Lustig & Strauser, 2002) , having demonstrated a robust literature pertaining to its health-related value. Described as an active and dynamic general health resource (Pallant & Lae, 2002; Vuori, 1994), SOC expresses the "extent to which one has pervasive, enduring, and dynamic feelings of confidence that one s internal and external environments are predictable and that there is a high probability that things will work out as well as can be reasonably expected." (Antonovsky, 1979, p. 123). According to Antonovsky (1993), the SOC serves as a perceptual filter. In his view, an individual can appraise stressors as negative, neutral, or salutary.

Individuals with high SOC invariably believe that all will work out well (Antonovsky, 1979). Conversely individuals with, low SOC become fixated on. the stressors and potential negative outcomes by appraising them as burdens (Korotkov, 1998). The demonstrated nature of SOC makes it valuable for research within career development literature.

Acquiring and. integrating the myriad of personal and contextual factors within career decision-making can be perceived as stressful for individuals. One's ability to mediate this stress may assist in the career choice process. This thesis was central to a study conducted by Lustig and Strauser (2002), Their research, represented a preliminary study into the relationship between stress-buffering factors and careeroriented cognitions. In particular, they focused on the relationship between SOC and negative career thoughts with a student population.

Results of the Lustig and Strauser (2002) investigation showed that SOC maintained significant statistical predictive relationships with, negative career thinking (NCT). They found SOC accounted for 14% of the variance of the criterion variables. Lustig and Strauser suggested their study be replicated with a more diverse sample (specifically non-college-based, samples and/or individuals currently involved in career counselling),

SOC comprises three theoretically and empirically interwoven dimensions: comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness. Comprehensibility refers to the degree to which the individual, perceives stimuli as predictable, ordered, and making cognitive sense. Manageability refers to the individuals appraisal that he or she has internal and external resources to manage the stressor. Meaningfulness pertains to the individuals appraisal that life makes sense and that demands are worthy of energy and commitment (Korotkov, 1.998), Korotkov s research supports the notion that each subcomponent of SOC is theoretically and empirically indivisible.

Empirical research has found that high SOC significantly mediates stress (Albertsen, Nielsen, & Borg, 2001; Cilliers, 2003; Diraz, Ortlepp, & Greyling, 2003; Feldt, Kinnunen, & Mauno, 2000; Hedov, Annernen, & Wikblad, 2002; Hintermair, 2004; Höge & Bussing, 2004; Kalimo, Pahkin, & Mutanen, 2002) and burnout (Cilliers). Stronger SOC empirically relates to greater well-being (Chamberlain, Pétrie, & Azriah, 1992; Nasermoadeli, Selcine, Hamanishi, & Kagamimori, 2003; Pallant & Lae, 2002; Ryland & Greenfield, 1991; Wissmg & van Eeden, 2002), self-esteem. (Soderberg, Lundman, & Norberg, 1997), and life satisfaction (Diraz et al., 2003; Lustig, Rosenthal, Strauser, & Haynes, 2000). Moreover, individuals indicating stronger SOC also show greater emotional stability (Mlonzi & Strümpfer, 1998) and emotional calm and contentment (Johnson, 2004).

Individuals with higher SOC also display fewer psychological difficulties, such as neuro ticism (Larsson & Kallenberg, 1.996; Strumpfer, Gouws, & Viviers, 1998), anxiety (Edwards & Besseling, 2001; Geyer, 1997)? psychopathology (Bengston & Hansson, 2001; Petri & Brook, 1992), dysfunctional thinking (Karlson, Seger, Osterberg, Gunnel, & Orbaek, 2000; Lustig & Strauser, 2002), and depression (Carstens & Spangenberg, 1997; Edwards & Besseling, 2001; Geyer). …

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