Exploring a career path towards well-being: How parental behaviors, career values awareness, and career decision-making self-efficacy impact well-being in undergraduate college students

2019-10-16T15:49:37Z (GMT) by Samantha A Morel
While there is evidence about the relationship between career development and psychological outcomes, more work is needed to understand how career development is related to personal mental health outcomes in college students. Studying some of the social and cognitive predictors of self-efficacy, this study espouses a holistic perspective to career development and aims to better understand its impact on well-being. Using social cognitive career theory (SCCT) and Super's life-span, life-space theory, this study examines how social (e.g., parental support) and cognitive (e.g., career values awareness) factors influence career decision-making self-efficacy, and furthermore, how this impacts well-being in undergraduate students. Specific mediation hypotheses were assessed, including the mediating role of career values awareness in the relationship between parental support and career decision-making self-efficacy, and the mediating effect of career-decision-making self-efficacy on well-being. Data were collected from 1446 undergraduate students at a large Midwestern public land-grant university through an online survey. Using structural equation modeling to analyze the data, results indicated that: (a) career values awareness mediated the relationship between parental behaviors and CDMSE; (b) CDMSE mediated the relationship between parental behaviors and well-being; and (c) CDMSE mediated the relationship between career values awareness and well-being. In an alternative model, parental support and socioeconomic status (SES) were also found to be significant positive predictors of well-being. Post hoc analysis revealed that academic standing (i.e., year in school) did not moderate the relationship between CDMSE and well-being. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are suggested along with implications for clinical practice.