The Effect of Career Counseling on the Self-Efficacy and Career Maturity of Residential Juvenile Offenders
In the United States, more than 2.2 million juveniles are arrested each year. Of those, more than 110,000 are placed in juvenile correction facilities (Snyder, 2006). Juvenile offenders are at an increased risk for deficient adjustment during adulthood including unemployment and underemployment. Educators, parents, and counselors face the challenge of addressing the readiness, interest, and realistic employment prospects of at-risk students to develop the kinds of skills that will prepare them to pursue career options and eventually make them marketable to future employers. Juvenile offenders benefit from career guidance. In contrast, a lack of career guidance can result in a host of negative characteristics produced by lower levels of career self-efficacy, career skill deficits, and a lack of career interest. Despite the benefits to the at-risk population, career counseling for these adolescents is often neglected. Few studies examine the usefulness of career counseling for adolescent offenders, and existing intervention and prevention efforts have been inadequate. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effect of career counseling on the juvenile offender population residing in a residential treatment center. Specifically, following a 12-week group counseling intervention, the current study measured changes in career maturity and career self-efficacy. To assess the effectiveness of a career counseling intervention, pre- and post-test data were gathered on a sample from a west Texas county juvenile justice center. The participants were placed in one of two groups, a control or a treatment group. To measure the effectiveness of the intervention, the participants were given three assessments: The Career Maturity Inventory (CMI), Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale (CDSE-SF), and a short demographic survey. The results supported the hypothesis that the treatment group would have significantly higher levels of career maturity and career self-efficacy when compared to the control after the 12-week intervention. The multivariate analysis indicated that, for residential juvenile offenders, a 12-week career counseling intervention produced significantly higher levels of career maturity and self-efficacy as compared to a group who did not receive the intervention.