Thursday, October 2, 2008

Adolescent Career Development

Educational commitments to career choices are made during adolescence.
This chapter describes how cognitive and emotional factors bear on career decisions of adolescents.


Piaget’s stages of cognitive development
Formal thought, the ability to think abstractly, ability to use logic (apt to be quite idealistic, expecting their world to be logical, when it isn’t). May be cause for conflict because adolescents start to believe that they are right and others are wrong.
Erikson says that adolescence is a time of identity and role confusion, which leads them to question the world.


Three periods in the choice process
Fantasy stage (up to age 11): play and imagination in thinking about future work
Tentative stage: recognition of one’s interests, abilities, and values, as well as one’s knowledge of work
_ Development of interests
_ Development of capacities
_ Development of values
_ Transition period
Realistic stage (after age 17): specifying and crystallizing occupational choice

Development of Interests:
At about 11, children stop fantasizing and begin to make choices based on interests
Young boys’ choices were related to their fathers’ careers
Ability to judge competencies is limited and unimportant to them
Interests are the major factor in the selection and rejection of career choices during childhood

Development of Capacities:
Ages 13 – 14 (middle school)
More likely to asess their own abilities
Educational process becomes more important in preparation for work
More realistic view of themselves and their future

Development of Values:
Ages 15 – 16
Able to take their goals and values into consideration when making career decisions
May not know how to weigh their interests, capacities, and values, but they have the necessary building blocks for choice
Becoming aware that they have to make choices to fit into the complex world
They may consider making contributions to society and the world
Issues of marriage and life plans may emerge

Transition Period:
Ages 17 – 18 (last year of high school)
Decisions about college and majors
Aware of job availability
Career guidance usually includes an asessment of interests, capacities, and values

Comparison of Super and Ginzberg’s Stages
In general, the adolescent life stages of both theorists are very similar
Super does not include values in his overview because they are developed in several stages. Except for values, both theories place interests before capacities
Super emphasizes recycling of stages, so time guidelines are not as important
Super believes that adolescents’ attitudes toward career and their knowledge of careers is important
Super thinks that adolescents enter stages about two years earlier than Ginzberg believes


Five major components (Super)
1. Orientation to vocational choice, using occupational information
2. Information and planning about an occupation
3. Consistency of vocational preference
4. Crystallization of traits
5. The wisdom of vocational preference

Super’s Conception of Career Maturity
Career Development Inventory, five Subscales:

Career Planning
This scale measures how much thought people have given to a variety of information-seeking activities and how much they feel they know about various aspects of work
Amount of planning is critical
Career planning – how much a student feels that he knows about these activities, not how much he actually knows

Career Exploration
Willingness to explore and look for information
How much information the student has acquired from the source

Decision Making
The ability to use knowledge and thought in career plans

World-of-Work Information
Knowledge of important developmental tasks
Knowledge of job duties in a few selected occupations, as well as job application behaviors

Knowledge of the Preferred Occupational Group - Choose from 20 groups

Realism (not tested)
Mixed affective and cognitive entity best assessed by combining personal, self-report, and objective data as in comparing the aptitudes of the individual with the aptitudes typical of the people in the occupation.
Is the career choice realistic?

Career Orientation Total
General term encompassing the previous concepts
Score gives a summary of the first 4 scales (excludes knowledge of preferred occupational group and realism)


Based on Erikson’s work on identity and developed by Marcia and Vondracek
Vocational Identity, 4 developmental stages:
_ Diffusion – having few clear ideas of what one wants and not being concerned about the future
_ Moratorium – a time, often more than several months, in which one explores options while wanting a direction, but not having one
_ Foreclosure – making a choice, often based on family tradition, without exploring other options
_ Achievement – knowing what one wants and making plans to attain an occupational goal

Vondracek combines identity with attention to the context of the development


Psychtalk - statements used to describe aptitudes, interests, and other characteristics of one’s self
Occtalk - statements about occupations



Applicability of career maturity studied for adolescents of different cultural backgrounds
Vocational aspirations differs for Latino, Latinas, Mexican Americans, and African Americans


Females more interested in traditionally male careers than males were in female careers
Traditional pattern of females choosing clerical jobs, males choosing craft and labor positions
Females: lower and higher level prestige, males: mid-level prestige
Females tend to score higher than males on Career Development Inventory


Dealing with adolescents’ egocentricity
Patience with adolescent search for identity
Adolescents may have a limited time perspective

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