Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
Research indicates that numerous family variables influence the career-development process (Osipow, 1983). Bowen's family systems theory is one model through which to view the development and influence of the family on career development (Bowen, 1972). According to his theory, individuals begin life highly dependent on family members for all forms of support. As people grow into adults, they slowly become independent of their family, or self-differentiated. Adults low in self-differentiation have been found to make decisions in order to appease their families. Further, low levels of self-differentiation have been related to greater mental health problems (Skowron & Friedlander, 1998) and relational dysfunction (Jenkins, Buboltz, Schwartz, & Johnson, 2005). Conversely, those who are high in self-differentiation tended to report greater emotional and interpersonal stability (Jenkins, et al., 2005). However, there is little research that has explored the relationship between self-differentiation and variables that are important in the development of career identity. The purpose of this study was to better understand the relationships among self-differentiation, career indecision, career decision-making self-efficacy, vocational identity, and career aspirations. Data were analyzed from 324 students (59% female) enrolled in undergraduate psychology courses. Due to significant mean differences between males and females, the hypotheses were analyzed separately for each gender. For females, career decision-making self-efficacy and career aspirations are significant mediators of the relationship between differentiation of self, vocational identity, and career indecision. For males, both career decision-making self-efficacy and career aspirations are significant mediators of the relationship between differentiation of self and vocational identity. Additionally, career decision-making self-efficacy is a significant mediator of the relationship between career indecision and differentiation of self for males. However, for males, career aspirations is not a mediator of the relationship between differentiation of self and career indecision when analyzed without career decision-making self-efficacy. The impact of these findings on future research and career counseling is discussed.
Middleton, Jay Justin, "" (2017). Dissertation. 74.