The Career Decision Scale as a measure of chronic indecision



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Texas Tech University


Researchers have postulated that vocationally undecided students compose a heterogeneous population, with subgroups requiring interventions specifically tailored to their needs. One such subgroup which has been identified has been labeled "chronically undecided" or "indecisive." The indecisive subgroup has been characterized as being unable or unwilling to make decisions, having high levels of ambivalence, resentment, anxiety, and frustration, and as lacking a clear sense of identity. Indecisive individuals are said to be dependent, have low self-esteem, and tend to blame others for current dissatisfactions. They have an external locus of control and have learned to react to situations in a helpless manner. Several authors have argued for the development of a comprehensive diagnostic system for the presenting problem of career undecidedness, and for the development of measurement devices for research concerning the diagnostic indicators of career indecisiveness.

There is evidence that the Career Decision Scale (CDS) may have potential for the identification of chronically indecisive students, and three criteria for the use of the CDS have been presented in the literature. Specifically, Factor 1 scores, Indecision Scale scores, and percentiles on both Indecision and Certainty Scales have been suggested as indicators of either chronic indecision or a "high likelihood of need for intervention." The purpose of this study was to provide evidence of the concurrent validity o£ each of these indicators.

The CDS, Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI), and the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) were administered to 206 college students. Analyses of Variance revealed that the Indecision Scale of the CDS was the measure most strongly related to neuroticism as measured by the EPI. Students scoring highest on the Indecision Scale of the CDS also scored highest on the Neuroticism Scale of the EPI, but the effect attained statistical significance only for females. Exploratory analyses of 16PF scales indicated that differences in Neuroticism Scale scores between indecision groups were primarily due to anxiety rather than to the traits described as "indecisiveness." Conclusions and directions for future research are presented.