Career Exploration: An Application of Social Cognitive Career Theory with At-Risk Adolescents and Young Adults
The purpose of this project is to create a theoretical process model that represents the developmental trajectories of the career interests of adolescents and young adults. Currently, there is a limited body of knowledge regarding the factors that affect the development of children’s career interests, with the noted absence of a theoretical model/framework that addresses both research and practice considerations. This project will research the sources of career-related self-efficacy and outcome expectations as contributors toward career interest.
Building on Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) (Lent, Brown and Hackett, 1994), this project will identify the family, social and environmental factors relevant to youth that influence their perceptions of career self-efficacy and outcome expectations which impact career interests. The project will do so by interviewing a broad range of young people at different developmental stages with respect to individual perceptions of values and aptitudes, personal performance accomplishments, vicarious learning via parents, friends and teachers, and social persuasion (i.e. the role of social group membership) and how these factors influence career interest. In addition, this study will examine these same factors in comparable population that has participated in a career development exploration program, Career Trek Inc.
This is a large-scale study that will involve 500 participants at five different developmental stages: latency, middle adolescence, late adolescence, young adult and adult. It is the intention of the study to apply the concepts of SCCT to children and enhance the current knowledge concerning the development of career interest. As well, these concepts will be applied to young people identified typically as academically “at-risk”, a population that is not well understood within mainstream career counselling. Within this study, the concept of “at-risk” is reframed as youth and their families who require additional supports in order to demonstrate academic and career success.