Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Parents' Perceptions of Career Information Resources

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Parents' Perceptions of Career Information Resources

Article excerpt

It is widely accepted that parents play a salient role in the career development of their children (Birk & Blimline, 1984; Hoyt, 1984; Otto & Call, 1985). Parents, in fact, may have the greatest potential for assisting their children in career planning (Kotrlik & Harrison, 1989; McDaniels & Hummel, 1984; Peterson, Stivers, & Peters, 1986). With a Louisiana sample, Kotrlik and Harrison reported that high school seniors perceived their parents as most influential in their career choice; whereas persons working in the field, friends, siblings, teachers, and counselors were perceived as less influential. In a study of low-income students, Peterson et al. reported that students relied on parents rather than on siblings, teachers, or peers for help in career decisions. Sebald (1989) reported similar results. When high school students were asked to choose between the opinions of parents and peers, parents' opinions were overwhelmingly chosen in the area of career development.

Career information is inherent in the career development process, and it is counselors' professional responsibility to provide that information (McDaniels & Gysbers, 1992). Strategies, structures, and programs designed to involve parents include career information as a major focus (e.g., Betterman, 1984; McDaniels & Hummel, 1984; Middleton & Loughead, 1993; Otto, 1984; Palmer & Cochran, 1988; Whiston, 1989). However, who and what parents perceive as their best sources of career information were not found in the literature; and this information could guide counselors toward more effective service delivery for parents and their children. This study examined parents' perceptions about the best sources of career information for their adolescents. A cross-section of parents of United States high school seniors was used. Parents' perceptions were investigated in terms of adolescents' areas of career interest.

METHOD

Participants

Participants were 11,068 parents from the 1992 second follow-up Parent Component Data File of the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES; Ingels, Thalji, Pulliam, Bartot, & Frankel, 1994). The NELS:88 study is the most recent of a series of national surveys by NCES of students, teachers, parents, and schools (see Ingels et al., 1994). Data used in this study were from the updated 1994 version of the 1992 cross-sectional sample. The analysis sample included only parents whose adolescents were enrolled in the 12th grade in 1992. The parent who was most knowledgeable of the adolescent's living situation and educational plans was asked to complete the Parent Questionnaire. Roughly 80% of parent respondents were mothers, 15% were fathers, 2% were stepparents, and the remaining 3% were other relatives or nonrelatives. The sample was further restricted by excluding parents (17%) who did not report a particular career of interest for their adolescent. The analysis sample, therefore, was representative of the most knowledgeable parents of United States 1992 high school seniors who knew of a particular career interest of their adolescent.

To check response bias in the final analysis sample, demographic data on those excluded from analysis were examined. Those excluded were more likely to be below the mean socioeconomic status (SES; 7% more in the 1st and 2nd SES Quartiles). There were only slight differences between the analysis group and the excluded group with respect to race and whether English was the language of birth. Races were similar to the United States population, roughly 4% Asian and Pacific Islander, 11% Hispanic, 1491O Black, 70% White, and 1% Native American. Approximately 5% fewer students whose parents were excluded were in college preparatory, as opposed to general or vocational, high school programs. Those excluded were slightly more likely to be from urban rather than from suburban or rural areas. …

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