Description: The purpose of this study was to examine family influences on career development and aspirations of young adults. Theories and research have examined the influence parents have on children's career development, but because of the multiple factors that influence career choices, understanding the family's influence is complex. The current study utilized ideas from self-determination, attachment, and career development theories to develop a framework for understanding how families influence young adult career development and aspirations. Rather than directly influencing career decisions, the family was proposed to influence processes within individuals that directly influence successful career development. This study used hierarchical regression analyses to test whether different aspects of family relationships and the family environment affect processes within young people, which in turn influence career development. A sample of 99 female and 34 male undergraduate students between 18 and 20 (mean age 18.67) completed questionnaires. Results support the idea that different aspects of the family influence diverse factors of career development and future aspirations. The achievement orientation of the family was predictive of career salience and extrinsic aspirations. Conflict with mothers was predictive of career salience, yet support and depth in the relationship with mothers and low amounts of conflict in the relationship with fathers were predictive of career maturity. High career salience was also predictive of career maturity. The hypothesis that factors play a mediating role between the family and career development variables was not supported. These findings suggest future research should assess multiple aspects of the family and multiple facets regarding career development to more fully understand this process. In addition, findings support the idea that career counselors should assess family functioning when helping young people in their career development journey.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Bergen, Rebecca June-Schapeler