Internal and External Barriers, Cognitive Style, and the Career Development Variables of Focus and Indecision

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Abstract

One hundred and thirty final year high school students were administered scales tapping optimism/pessimism, self-esteem, external career barriers, career decision-making self-efficacy, career focus and career indecision. It was hypothesised, first, that cognitive style (optimism/pessimism) would predict both internal (self-esteem) and external career-related barriers, second, that internal barriers would interact with external barriers and impact on career decision-making self-efficacy, and third, the previously mentioned variables would subsequently predict career focus and career indecision. Results demonstrated that cognitive style was influential in determining the perception of internal barriers (for females and males) and external barriers (females only). Internal and external barriers, along with optimistic/pessimistic cognitive style, were found to predict career decision-making self-efficacy (in males, but not in females). There was no evidence that internal and external barriers interacted to predict career decision-making self-efficacy. Last, it was found that career decision-making self-efficacy, internal and external barriers, and optimistic/pessimistic cognitive style were able to predict career focus (males and females) and career indecision (males only). Results are discussed in the context of Carver and Scheier's (1981) control theory.

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