Academic journal article Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research

Humanistic and Positive Psychology Factors as Predictors of Mexican American Adolescents' Vocational Outcome Expectations

Academic journal article Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research

Humanistic and Positive Psychology Factors as Predictors of Mexican American Adolescents' Vocational Outcome Expectations

Article excerpt

The Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing groups in the United States with Mexican Americans making up the largest sub-group of the overall Hispanic population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). Compared with 30.3% of Whites, 10.6% of Mexican Americans have received a college degree (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012) and although college and career services have improved for Hispanic students, Mexican Americans still face challenges to career development. Challenges include lack of motivation, minimal support from educators, and socioeconomic challenges (Vela, Lu, Veliz, Johnson, & Castro, 2014c). While educational research is important, there is a dearth of literature regarding factors that influence Mexican American adolescents' career development. Given that vocational outcome expectations are related to career vocations (McWhirter, Rasheed, & Crothers, 2000), self-efficacy, and career goals (Gore & Leuwerke, 2000), investigating vocational outcome expectations among Mexican American adolescents is a worthwhile research endeavor. Specifically, we suggest that it may be helpful for counseling professionals to understand the degree that humanistic and positive psychology factors influence vocational outcome expectations.

Humanistic and Positive Psychology Factors

Meaning in Life

There is growing interest in the relationship between meaning in life and adolescent outcomes (Brassai, Piko, & Steger, 2011). Meaning in life is viewed as a psychological strength (Steger, Frazier, Oishi, & Kaler, 2006) and a fundamental principle of positive psychology (Seligman, Ernst, Gillham, Reivich, & Linkins, 2009). Meaning in life refers to a process of self-discovery of meaning that has been conceptualized by some as having presence of meaning in life and search for meaning in life (Steger & Shin, 2010). Search for meaning in life relates to motivation toward finding meaning in life, while presence of meaning in life refers to current attribution of meaning in life (Steger & Shin, 2010). Meaning in life has been associated with less alcohol use (Schnetzer, Schulenberg, & Buchanan, 2013), achievement (Werner, 2014), and subjective happiness (Vela, Castro, Cavazos, Cavazos, & Gonzalez, 2014a). However, only a few career development researchers have examined the relationship between meaning in life and career development. Duffy and Sedlacek (2010) explored college students' religiousness, meaning in life, and life satisfaction. They found that presence of career calling was moderately related with life meaning while search for meaning in life was negatively related with search for career calling.

Hope

Another important factor in positive psychology that might be linked to vocational outcome expectations is hope (Snyder et al., 2002). Researchers have explored the relationships between hope and positive outcomes along domains of academic performance (Snyder et al., 2002), goal attainment (Feldman, Rand, & Kahle-Wrobleski, 2009), future academic achievement, mental health (Marques, Pais-Ribeiro, & Lopez, 2011), and psychological grit (Vela, Lu, Lenz, & Hinojosa, in press). Snyder et al. (1991) proposed hope theory with two components: pathways and agency. Pathways thinking refers to individuals' plans to pursue desired objectives as well as perceived beliefs to pursue objectives (Feldman & Dreher, 2012); agency thinking refers to "thoughts that people have regarding their ability to begin and continue movement on selected pathways toward those goals" (Snyder, Michael, & Cheavens, 1999, p. 180). Hope has been linked with global life satisfaction (Valle, Huebner, & Suido, 2004), grit (Vela et al., 2015), psychological well-being (Snyder et al., 2002), and meaning in life (Vela et al., 2014b). Hope has also significantly predicted adolescents' longitudinal life satisfaction providing evidence of long-term benefits of hope (Marquez, Lopez, & Mitchell, 2013). …

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