Career indecision among the physically challenged and the nonphysically challenged



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Texas Tech University


The recent enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 has heightened society's awareness and responsibility to the physically challenged population. Researchers have observed that studies that explore issues related to being physically challenged are limited. Due to the recent legislation, universities are going to be held accountable for the services provided for the physically challenged student. Information about the student needs of this population will be needed in order to best serve the interests of the physically challenged.

One area of research that is lacking in studies about the physically challenged is the vocational development literature. In the present study, the vocational development of the physically challenged, career indecision in particular, was examined. Career indecision has been conceptualized as being unable to commit to a course of action to meet the requirements to enter a particular occupation. Researchers have observed career indecision to be correlated with a variety of variables such as age and grade classification. The Career Decision Scale (CDS) is a measure of career Certainty and career Indecision. The CDS has been found in numerous studies to be a valid measure of career indecision.

Non-physically challenged (N = 72) and physically challenged (N = 59) students responded to a mail-out survey. Each potential participant received a cover letter, the CDS, a demographics questionnaire, and a self-addressed envelope. Multiple regression analyses of the data were computed along with correlational matrices.

Post-hoc analyses were computed on three physically challenged population specific variables. It was observed that career Certainty was best predicted by the education of the father. Career Indecision was best predicted by the variables age, being divorced, and education of father, as a set. No significant differences in career Certainty or career Indecision were found between the physically challenged and the non-physically challenged. The data suggested that as we age, there is an increased probability that we will become orthopedically impaired and that males are at the highest risk. Career indecision among the physically challenged was found to decrease as satisfaction with university provided services increased. Implications for future research are discussed.