The relationship among work possible selves, work role salience, socioeconomic position, and the psychological well-being of individuals in early adulthood

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher T. Pisarik (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Marie F Shoffner

Abstract: "The primary emphasis in vocational development theory and research has been on vocational outcomes with little attention to the role of the choice process on psychological well-being. Moreover, much of the research on vocational and career development has been oriented toward white middle class adolescents, and assumes a large opportunity structure and set of choice options. Consequently, we have relatively little knowledge about the meaning and significance of the role of work in the lives of individuals from lower socioeconomic positions. This study explored individuals' work possible selves, which are those hopes and expectations for the self in work along the five dimensions of ability utilization, achievement, autonomy, personal development, and creativity. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among work possible selves, work role salience, socioeconomic position, gender, and psychological well-being. Participants included individuals in early adulthood (N = 201), aged 20 to 35, who were enrolled in three community colleges and one university in North Carolina. Work possible selves, a construct based on the theory of Possible Selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986), were examined through the Work Possible Selves Questionnaire (WPSQ; Pisarik, 2005). Participants also completed the Work Centrality Questionnaire (Paullay, Alliger, & Stone-Romero, 1994), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, & Larsen, 1985), the Depression - Happiness Scale (McGreal & Joseph, 1993), and the Occupation - Education Status Questionnaire (Pisarik, 2005). Results indicated no relationships between hoped-for work selves and socioeconomic position, or between work role salience and socioeconomic position. Significant positive relationships were found between expected work selves and socioeconomic position. No statistically significant differences were found in hoped-for work selves, expected work selves, or work role salience between males and females. Canonical correlation analyses indicated that the variable set that included work possible selves discrepancies, defined as the difference between hoped-for and expected work selves, socioeconomic position, work role salience, and gender was significantly related to the variable set that included two components of psychological well-being, satisfaction with life and affective balance. Work possible selves discrepancies were negatively related to satisfaction with life, affective balance, work role salience, and socioeconomic position. Results indicate that individuals who report large work possible selves discrepancies, and low socioeconomic positions, also report lower levels of satisfaction with life and affective balance. Considerations for counselors and counselor educators, and suggestions for future research are provided. Additional discussion regarding the development and future iterations of the Work Possible Selves Questionnaire also was presented."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
vocational development, theory, research, vocational outcomes, psychological well-being, career development, socioeconomic positions, Possible Selves
Young adults--Job satisfaction
Young adults--Psychology
Vocational education--Planning--Psychological aspects
Counseling in vocational education

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