Career Goal Revision in Response to Negative Feedback: Testing a Longitudinal Cross-Lagged Model

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We tested a model based on goal-setting and self-regulation theories of the cross-lagged relationships among negative career-related feedback, negative affect (career-related stress), and career goal revision (downward goal revision and goal disengagement). Participants were 409 Chinese university/college students (Mage 19 years; 58% female), who completed a survey at 2 time points approximately 6 months apart. Consistent with our hypotheses, negative career-related feedback at T1 was related to more career goal disengagement and greater downward goal revision at T2. Career-related stress partially mediated the relationship between negative career-related feedback and downward goal revision. In addition, there were reverse relationships between negative career-related feedback and career-related stress, and between career-related stress and goal disengagement. These findings highlight important roles for negative career-related feedback and negative affect in young peoples’ career goal pursuit.

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