Career-Related Parental Support, Vocational Identity, and Career Adaptability: Interrelationships and Gender Differences.

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Date: June 2021
From: Career Development Quarterly(Vol. 69, Issue 2)
Publisher: National Career Development Association
Document Type: Report
Length: 6,157 words
Lexile Measure: 1400L

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We examined relationships among career-related parental support, vocational identity, and career adaptability in a sample of 1,163 Chinese technical college students. Structural equation modeling of the relationship between career-related parental support and students' career adaptability revealed positive mediation effects of three types of vocational identity (career commitment making, identification with career commitment, and in-depth career exploration). In contrast, career self-doubt exhibited a negative mediation effect. Multigroup structural equation modeling showed that there were stronger relationships in male-identified students than in female-identified students between career-related parental support and career commitment and career exploration. Among male-identified students, in contrast to female-identified students, there was a significant and negative association between career self-doubt and concern, and there was a positive association between in-depth career exploration and concern. These results have implications for supporting parents in facilitating children's career adaptability. Future research could identify the differential effects of paternal and maternal support on career adaptability.

Keywords: career adaptability, career-related parental support, gender, vocational identity, vocational and technical college students


According to career construction theory (Savickas, 1997, 2012), vocational identity and career adaptability are the two key metacompetencies for career construction. These competencies are fundamental to coping with challenges and changes within employment situations in this technological era and are linked to positive career outcomes and psychological well-being (Negru-Subtirica et al., 2015; Porfeli et al, 2011; Savickas & Porfeli, 2012).

Previous research has indicated an association between social support and career adaptability and between career adaptability and vocational identity (P. Guan et al., 2016; Hui et al., 2018; Merino-Tejedor et al., 2016; Negru-Subtirica et al., 2015; Tian & Fan, 2014). However, very little is known about the interrelationships among variables of career-related parental support, vocational identity, and career adaptability. It is known that family is an important microsystem wherein interactions occur daily between individuals (i.e., parents, siblings, grandparents, and other relatives; Bronfenbrenner, 1979), and these interactions tend to shape students' behavior, aspirations, and motivation for choosing a career path after graduation. Thus, an exploration of the effect of career-related parental support on vocational identity and career adaptability is valuable in that it may enrich career construction theory by providing empirical evidence of an effect of an important contextual factor on the development of a person's two important metacompetencies.

Additionally, although prior research has identified that male and female students report different relationships between parental support and career outcomes (Howard et al., 2009; Kenny & Bledsoe, 2005), there is lack of understanding at present of any differentiated relationship across gender for career-related parental support, vocational identity, and career adaptability. Investigating this relationship is important because it may provide new insights into how gender interacts with career-related parental support and career adaptability via vocational identity.

Defining Career-Related Parental Support, Vocational Identity, and Career Adaptability

Vocational identity has been found to comprise three processes, namely, career exploration (both in-depth and in-breadth exploration), career commitment (committing to a career path and identification with that commitment), and career reconsideration (commitment flexibility and career self-doubt [CSD]; Porfeli et al., 2011,...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A666103289