Person-Environment Psychology and Mental Health: Assessment and Intervention

By William E. Martin Jr.; Jody L. Swartz-Kulstad | Go to book overview

7
Applications of Person-Environment Psychology to the Career Development and Vocational Behavior of Adolescents and Adults

Jane L. Swanson Serena P. Chu Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

The field of vocational psychology strives to explain and predict work-related activity throughout individuals' lives. Vocational psychologists study a number of important issues that occur most frequently during specific life stages, such as the formation of interest patterns in childhood and adolescence, exploration of career alternatives and commitment to an initial career choice in adolescence and young adulthood, entry into an occupational choice in young adulthood, career progress in middle adulthood, and transition to retirement in later adulthood. Moreover, vocational psychologists study issues that occur throughout the life span, regardless of specific life stage, such as development and refinement of one's vocational identity, the interaction of work and nonwork life roles, and continued adjustment to occupational circumstances.

Vocational psychology is built on the recognition that successful pursuit of work activities is crucial to psychological well-being throughout the life span; furthermore, that mental health issues and vocational issues reciprocally affect one another in individuals' lives ( Betz & Coming, 1993; Blustein & Spengler, 1995; Spokane, 1989). Therefore, understanding vocational issues and assisting individu-

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