Career exploration: An examination of the combined effects of multiple predictors
Bartley, Denise F.
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Career exploration is defined as the self appraisal and external search activities that provide a person with information fostering the selection of, entry into, and the adjustment to an occupation. The present study addressed the process of career exploration during late adolescence. Factors associated with this process in the literature included career decision-making self-efficacy, motivational processes (viz., autonomy orientation, control orientation, and impersonal orientation), goal directedness, vocational decision making style (thinking-feeling and introversionextroversion), personal growth initiative, ego identity (viz., foreclosure, moratorium, diffusion, and identity achievement), exploration beliefs (viz., external search instrumentality and importance of obtaining preferred position), and contextual anxiety (viz., decisional stress and explorational stress). These factors, however, have accounted for only a modest amount of the variance in the career exploration (viz., environmental exploration and self-exploration) process, suggesting the need for further investigation. The main purpose of this study was to assess the relative contribution of the preceding factors to the career exploration process when all were considered together. It was, therefore, hypothesized that for both men and women each factor would account for a significant, unique portion of the variance of career exploration scores when all factors were considered together. The sample for this study consisted of 156 women and 162 men enrolled in an introductory psychology course at a large Southwestern university. A series of forward and simultaneous regression analyses indicated that scores for vocational decision making style: thinking-feeling and for personal growth initiative accounted for 23% of the variance in environmental exploration for women. For men, scores on career decision-making self-efficacy, explorational stress, and external search instrumentality accounted for 28% of the variance in environmental exploration. Concomitantly, 21% of the variance in se If-exploration for women was accounted for by scores on the following factors: vocational decision making style: thinking-feeling; foreclosure; identity achievement; explorational stress; and goal directedness. For men, 33% of the variance in se If-exploration was accounted for by scores on the following factors: vocational decision making style: thinking-feeling; moratorium; diffusion; career decision-making self-efficacy; goal directedness; and explorational stress. These findings suggest that a few constructs predict career exploration as well as many constructs and that men and women should be considered separately. Suggestions for future research and practice are discussed.