Effects of Differentiation of Self and Proactive Behaviors on Career Decision-Making of College Students


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A dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in COUNSELOR EDUCATION from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.
We live in a world of increasing modernization which has led to a rise in the number of occupational paths, specializations, trainings, and job types (Gati & Levin, 2014). Given the importance of career and work in an individual’s life, it is prudent to understand as fully as possible the characteristics that can influence one’s career development process. Understanding the impact of differentiation of self and proactivity may lay the groundwork for future interventions with secondary and post-secondary students as well as those already in the workforce. The primary purpose of this multiple regression investigation was to find how differentiation of self and proactive personality predict career decidedness. The sample for this study consisted of 164 college students enrolled in undergraduate level courses at a Hispanic serving institution in South Texas. All participants were provided a sealed envelope that included a (a) demographic form, (b) Proactive Personality Scale, (c) Differentiation of Self Inventory, and (d) Career Decision Scale. A correlation design was used to predict criterion variables with knowledge of other variables (Gay & Airasian, 2011). More specifically, the method of data analysis used for this study was a multiple regression. The findings of the multiple regression indicated proactive personality and differentiation of self were statistically significant predictors of career decidedness. Three of the differentiation of self subscales, Emotional Reactivity, Emotional Cutoff, and Fusion with Others, were significant predictors of career decidedness. Results suggest elements from each of the measures of differentiation of self and proactive personality significantly predicted career decision-making. The findings from this study are valuable to career counselors, students attempting to decide which career to pursue, and family members and friends who influence the career decision-making of students. Directions for future research include greater diversity in ethnicity and gender, sampling young adults who are not in college, and researching how the quality of relationships within the family affects one’s career decision-making.
Counseling & Educational Psychology
College of Education and Human Development