Effects of Career Choice Intervention on Components of Career Preparation

Article excerpt

This randomized experimental study (N = 1,034) examines both the direct and the indirect effects of the Towards Working Life intervention on 2 components of adolescents' career preparation: preparedness for career choice and attitude toward career planning. The intervention comprised a 1-week workshop program, the proximal goals of which were to enhance 9th graders' career choice preparedness and attitude toward career planning. Participants were assessed at baseline and immediately after the intervention. The results showed that the intervention had directly improved the students' career choice preparedness, which in turn increased positive attitude toward career planning. Implications for both theory and practice are discussed.

Career preparation has been viewed as a major developmental task for adolescents, the successful performance of which improves personal development, social adjustment, and friture well-being (Erikson, 1968; Super, 1990). Savickas (1999) summarized that career developmental theories view "awareness of the choices to be made and information and planning that bear on these choices" (p. 334) as the main predictors of successful career choices and smooth transitions from school to work. Since the early work of Crites ( 1978), career theories generally have stressed two distinct factors that affect educational and vocational decisions and the implementation of career choices (Savickas, 1999). The first is a competence factor. Crites formulated the model of career maturity, which includes five career choice competencies: (a) selfknowledge, (b) occupational information, (c) goal selection, (d) planning, and (e) problem solving. According to the social cognitive approach, the way in which adolescents develop and exercise personal efficacy in the domain of career choice during adolescence and the transition to adulthood can play a key role in setting the course of their life path (Bandura, 2006; Lent, Hackett, 6k Brown, 1999; Taylor & Bete, 1983). The second is an attitudinal factor, which refers to the development of positive attitudes toward career planning and exploration. However, having career choice competencies does not alone guarantee that adolescents will perform successfully in career exploration and planning. Thus, in addition to a sense of efficacy, adolescents need to develop a positive attitude toward career planning (Ajzen, 1988; Bandura, 1977, 2006; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994; Savickas, 1999). These two motivational components complement each other in the prediction of goal -setting and the implementation of behavioral strategies in the domains of career planning and exploration. Consequently, already during basic education, developing the competence in and preparation for overcoming problems, barriers, and setbacks as well as positive attitudes toward career planning and exploration have become pronmal goals of interventions aimed at facilitating career choice.

Aims of the Study

The objectives of the present study were to examine both the direct and the indirect immediate effects of a theory-driven career choice intervention on competence and attitudinal factors of career preparation among adolescents. The competence component of the career préparation process in this study is career choice preparedness. Career choice preparedness refers to the readiness to take advantage of opportunities and the readiness to deal with barriers and setbacks in the domain of career choice (Sweeny, Carroll, & Shepperd, 2006; Vuori, Koivisto, Mutanen, lokisaari, & Salmela-Aro, 2008). In the present study, we operationalized career choice preparedness as a combination of two measures: career choice self-efficaq' and inoculation against setbacks (Vuori et al., 2008; see also Koivisto, Vuori, & Vinokur, 2010; Vuori & Vinokur, 2005). The concept of career choice self-efficacy used in this study refers to the degree of confidence in one's ability to successfully engage in tasks related to career choice. …


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