Date of Award

1985

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Robert J. Cruise

Second Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Third Advisor

D. J. Habenicht

Abstract

Problem. Research on James Marcia's identity statuses has been directed toward the overall problem of identity, but not toward the specific area of occupational identity. The major purpose of this study was to develop and validate an instrument to assess Marcia1s Identity Statuses (Achievement, Moratorium, Foreclosure, and Diffusion) for the occupational area. In addition, the relationships of selected variables to these statuses were investigated.

Method. Random class groups of students (N=417) from six selected high schools and colleges located in Michigan provided the data for this study. Items were created utilizing the criteria established by previous research and content validated by a group of experts. Responses were analyzed and measures of construct and concurrent validity were obtained. Also indexes of internal consistency and item discrimination were estimated. The effects of the variables sex, class level, employment situation, and parental financial dependence upon the scale scores were examined.

Results. Four factors were identified for the four occupational identity statuses. They accounted for 49 percent of the total variance. Reliability coefficients were .87, .84, .72, and .70 for the Achievement, Moratorium, Foreclosure, and Diffusion scales, respectively. Concurrent validity coefficients were .79, .68, .38, and .43 for the scales, when correlated with a similar instrument. The study of the related variables revealed class and sex main effects. High-school students scored higher than college students on the Moratorium, Foreclosure, and Diffusion scales. Males scored higher than females on the Foreclosure and Diffusion scales. The study failed to identify main effects for the other two variables. Several simple effects were also significant.

Conclusions.

  1. Marcia's four-status theory was validated for the area of occupational identity.
  2. The new instrument can objectively gather occupational identity data from a rather large group of subjects.
  3. A developmental pattern in occupational identity which grows with grade level was observed. This could provide valuable information for parents and career counselors as they attempt to influence the students' career decisions.
  4. Men probably need more help in consolidating their occupational identity than women do.
  5. Holding part-time employment might not help female students (regardless of their class level) to accomplish occupational identity.
  6. A high degree of parental financial dependence might exert a negative effect on the development of occupational identity development.

Subject Area

Vocational interests, High school students.

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