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Ego-identity status and narrative structure in retrospective accounts of parental career influence Sankey, Andria M. 1993

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EGO-IDENTITY STATUS AND NARRATIVE STRUCTUREIN RETROSPECTIVE ACCOUNTS OFPARENTAL CAREER INFLUENCEbyANDRIA N. SANKEYB.Sc., The University of Victoria, 1989A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESCOUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGYWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADecember, 19930 Andria Sankey3In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)_______________Department of_____________________The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate I2CQC’DE-6 (2/88)iiAbstractIn this paper, the relationship between identity statuscategories and the experience of parental influence oncareer development is examined. The narratives of 11 youngadults (18 - 25 years of age) regarding significant eventsthrough which their parents influenced them were firstclassified by narrative structure based on Gergen andGergen’s (1986) narrative macrostructure framework. Threenarrative types were identified and illustrated. They are,the Progressive Narrative with Negatively EvaluatedStages, the Progressive Narrative with a Dramatic TurningPoint, and the Progressive Narrative Within a PositiveEvaluation Frame. These resulting narrative types werethen assessed in terms of their relationship to eachparticipant’s scores on the Objective Measure of EgoIdentity Status (Grotevant & Adams, 1984). Bothobservational associations and a chi square correlationsuggest a relationship. To validate the structuralanalysis, individual narratives were then analyzed indetail by a phenomenological method proposed by Giorgi(1975). Fourteen dominant themes were extracted andillustrated. Several patterns of themes were observed asrelating to identity status classifications of theparticipants. The results of this study provide furtherunderstanding of the role of parental influence in theiiilives and career directions of young people. They alsosuggest that the experience of parental influence oncareer development for this population may be reflectiveof on&s stage of identity formation, or to the process ofexploring and committing to career values and goals.ivTABLE OF CONTENTS1bstract.iiTable of Contents ivList of Tables viList of Figures viiCHAPTER I Introduction 1Statement of the Problem 9Definition of terms 12Significance of the study 14CHAPTER II Review of the Literature 15Introduction 15Identity Status and its Relationshipto Career Development 16Assessment of Identity Status 30Gender Differences in Identity Status .33Family Influence Variables 36Studies on Identity Status 36Studies on Career Development 46A Narrative Approach to UnderstandingParental Influence 57CHAPTER III Method 66Sample 66Instrumentation 67Demographic Information 67Measurement of Identity Status 67Narrative Structure as an Assessmentof Parental Influence 71Interview Methods 71Follow—up Interview 73Reliability and Validity 73Procedure 75Analysis and Interpretation 77Summaries 80Limitations 81CHAPTER IV Results 83Structural Analysis 84Analysis of the Relationship BetweenNarrative Structure andIdentity Status 106Phenomenological Analysis 111Examination of Themes 114A Detailed Description of Themes 116VSummary.152Associations With Identity Status 155Demographic Information 157CHAPTER V Discussion 159Implications for Practice 173Suggestions for Future Research 176Conclusion 177REFERENCES 179APPENDIX A. Participant Informed Consent 189B. Introduction to Questionnaires 191C. Demographic Questionnaire 192D. The Objective Measure of Ego-IdentityStatus 193E. Interview Procedure and Questions 198viLIST OF TABLESTable 1. Distribution of Identity Status Scoreson the EOMEIS-2 85Table 2. Means and Standard Deviations ofIdentity Status Scales 85viiLIST OF FIGURESFigure 1. Progressive Narrative With NegativelyEvaluated Stages 89Figure 2. Progressive Narrative With a DramaticTurning Point 96Figure 3. Progressive Narrative Within a PositiveEvaluation Frame 1021CHAPTER ONEIntroductionAs individuals we are continually going through aprocess of trying to make sense of our past and reflectingon what we want out of life. In other words, in our searchto develop a sense of who we are, we have to have a notionof “how we have become and where we are going” (Taylor,1989). We are, then, needing to make sense of our lives inorder to gain an identity.Although most developmental theorists would agreethat this process of identity formation is continuallyevolving throughout the lifespan, considerable researchexists on identity development that supports the notionthat a progressive strengthening in the sense of personalidentity is emphasized during adolescence and youngadulthood. It is evident that identity formation by youngpeople is not a single, global undertaking but is a seriesof particular, yet interrelated tasks by which theindividual establishes his or her personal goals, valuesand beliefs (Waterman, 1985), to make possible the adultcapacity to love and to work (Gilligan, 1982).In outlining his belief that identity formation isone of the primary developmental tasks facing adolescents,Erikson (1956, 1968) asserts that a coherent sense ofidentity requires a self-concept that is stable over time.Furthermore, the self-concept must contain2self—knowledge about how one acts, thinks and feels in avariety of situations, and must be organized into aconceptualization of how one is both separate from, yetconnected with others. Some developmental influences canfoster an integrated, stable perception of oneself asseparate and distinct from others, while others can impairthis process (Conger, 1973), leading to what Eriksoncalled identity diffusion.Several theorists (e.g., Erikson, 1968; Gilligan,1982) have emphasized the task of individuating from one’sparents, as being an important influence on theestablishment of a mature ego identity. In a recent reviewof the contribution of the family to the facilitation ofidentity development, Grotevant (1983) concluded thatidentity formation is facilitated by a balance betweenfamily connectedness and the encouragement ofindividuality (or the establishment of autonomously heldviewpoints). Josselson (1980) suggests that it is onlythrough individuation that enough autonomy is learned tomaster the tasks of identity formation. So, qualitativegrowth in ego-identity is thought to occur through theprocess of personal examination or exploration of theattitudes, values, and opinions of those in our social—environmental contexts——the family context being anespecially strong influence in facilitating or retardingidentity formation development (Campbell, Adams & Dobson,31984; Adams & Fitch, 1983). Tying together his ideas aboutidentity development during adolescence and the notion ofparental influence, Erikson (1968) suggests that identityformation requires a certain amount of rebellion orrejection of parental ideas. He writes:The wholeness to be achieved at this stage(adolescence) I have called a sense of inneridentity. The young person, in order to experiencewholeness, must feel a progressive continuitybetween that which he has become to be during thelong years of childhood and that which he conceiveshimself to be and that which he perceives others tosee in him and to expect of him. Individuallyspeaking, identity includes, but is more than thesum of all the successive identifications of thoseearlier years when the child wanted to be, and wasoften forced to become, like the people he dependedon. Identity is a unique product, which now meets acrisis to be solved only in new identificationswith age mates and with leader figures outside thefamily. (p. 87)Erikson (1968) proposed that such “rejection” ofparental ideas is necessary in one’s determining anoccupational or vocational identity, which itselfrepresents one of the central challenges of the identityformation processes in late adolescence. Expanding on this4idea, Marcia (1966) suggested that identity is clearlyexpressed through the occupational, ideological, andinterpersonal commitments one makes with society. He thusdescribes four possible outcomes of the identity formationprocess. These are based on whether individuals haveexperienced a period of exploration and/or commitment tooccupational, ideological, and interpersonal choices.Individuals who avoid an exploration period byfollowing the commitments prescribed by their parents areconsidered to have a Foreclosed identity. They have madecommitments without fully exploring alternative options.Individuals who have explored options and have madecommitments based on their own decision—making process areconsidered to have an Achieved identity. Individualscurrently struggling with an identity crisis areconsidered to have a Moratorium status. They are exploringwithout yet having made commitments. And finally, thoseindividuals who have not explored and have not madecommitments are considered to have a Diffused identity.Marcia’s work will be explored more fully in the secondchapter of this paper.There appear to be several theoretical linkagesbetween identity formation, as proposed by Erikson (1968)and Marcia (1966), and career development processes.Career development theorists, for example, have suggestedthat the degree to which individuals are able to establish5coherent career plans seems to be linked to their progressin forming a crystallized self-concept or identity(Harren, 1979; Super, 1957). These theorists also suggestthat the active consideration or exploration ofalternatives and the commitment to clearly delineatedvalues, beliefs and attitudes, are the major tasksinvolved in the crystallization of career goals (Harren,1979; Super, 1957; Tiedeman & O’Hara, 1963). As suggestedearlier, these two developmental tasks are similarlyconsidered important in identity formation (Marcia, 1966).In short, the two developmental tasks of exploration andcommitment provide the dimensions by which both the egoidentity and career development processes areconceptualized (Blusteiri, Devenis & Kidney, 1989). Furtherstill, both career development and identity formationtheorists have suggested that exploratory activity in lateadolescence may reflect an individual’s means of seekinginformation about oneself and the environment in order toclarify one’s overall self—concept or identity (Grotevant& Cooper, 1988; Waterman, 1985). Both bodies of researchalso assert the importance of parental influence infacilitating career development and identity formationprocesses in adolescents and young adults.Counsellors have long recognized the connectionbetween the constructs of identity and career astheoretically significant in counselling, guidance and6career development (Blocher, 1966; Tiedeman & O’Hara,1963), however little effort has been directed towardinvestigating the possibility that resolving careerdevelopment tasks may be related to the identity formationprocess in late adolescence (Blustein, Devenis & Kidney,1989) Harmon and Farmer (1983) have pointed out that fewvocational researchers have taken an interest inEriksonian theory, and the same can be said for theinterest of identity researchers with respect tovocational development theory as a source of explanationfor adolescent vocational attitudes and behaviour. Therelationship between psychosocial maturity and careerdevelopment therefore, remains relatively unexploredempirically.Recent articles (Gelso & Fassinger, 1992; Blustein &Phillips, 1990; Raskin, 1985) have suggested that the ego-identity status paradigm might be successfully integratedinto career development theory, and likewise, that ourunderstanding of identity formation would be enhanced byintegrating these two areas (Blustein, Devenis & Kidney,1989; Munley, 1975; Raskin, 1985). Raskin (1985), forexample, suggests the possibility of a parallel betweencareer development variables such as career maturity,decision—making, exploratory behaviour and parentalinfluence, and vocational identity status.7Narrative Structure in Addressing Parental InfluenceAs previously outlined, the process of identityformation advances as the adolescent explorespossibilities for a new integrated sense of self andultimately makes commitments to such choices as careergoals and values. So, in order to achieve a stableidentity, individuals must go through a process ofquestioning the goals and values of significant others intheir lives.For most young people, parents comprise an importantpart of the environment with which they have a dynamicinteraction. Parents are transmitters of cultural valuesand norms that can have a critical impact on their child’sdevelopment (Young & Friesen, 1992). Sebald (1986)suggests that adolescents continue to seek out and rely ontheir parents as the main source of advice and guidancewith regard their future education and career goals. Aquestion arises then, concerning the nature of experienceswith parents that seem to promote the exploration andindividuation process that leads to the achievement of anidentity.The notion of influence (e.g., on adolescent careerdevelopment) implies a connection between past events andthe present, or future events. Similarly, Erikson (1968)and other developmental theorists (e.g., Loevinger, 1976)assert the importance of striving to make sense of past8experience in the identity development process. So,although parents have traditionally been thought of as animportant influence on the career development and lives oftheir children, attention could be paid to how thisinfluence is perceived by individuals at different stagesof the identity formation process.One approach to the study of perceived parentalinfluence involves the use of narrative or life—story(Young, Friesen, & Borycki, in press). This approach isbased on the belief that individuals attach meanings toevents in their lives by constructing storied accounts ofthem. As one constructs the story of one’s life, one makesconnections, uses themes, and implies causality (Young etal., in press). Past events are generally reconstitutedand linked together in a form which leads to, explains andis conditioned by the present (Robinson, 1990). Narrative,then, creates self—knowledge, and is the primary vehiclethrough which a person makes sense of one’s history.Consequently, every individual life story is unique.So, through the use of narrative as a means ofaddressing perceived parental influence on careerdevelopment in the current investigation, naturallyoccurring texts of identity emerged in the course oftelling one’s story. As Mishler (1986) states:• first, whatever else the story is about it isalso a form of self—presentation, that is, a9particular personal-social identity is beingclaimed. So, identity is expressed through variousparticulars of the account, and to the way itrepresents themes and values. Second, everythingsaid functions to express, confirm, and validatethis claimed identity. This supports our searchfor identity relevant material throughout theaccount.It is suggested that in the current study theresulting stories, or narratives, although structureddifferently for each individual, might actually berepresentative of narratives of those sharing a similaridentity status. The construct of identity status then,may prove to be a means of expanding our understanding ofthe nature of perceived parental influence on the careerdevelopment and lives of their children.Statement of the problemThe purposes of the current investigation aretwofold: First, to more fully understand the nature ofparent/child experiences that are perceived asfacilitating or inhibiting of the child’s careerdevelopment and how these are structured in relation totheir pursuit of career goals, and secondly, to observewhether the experience of parental influence may bereflective of one’s identity status. Looking specificallyat narratives of perceived parental influence on career10development, it seems likely that they would be reflectiveof individual differences in the progress of identityformation. Referring to a study by Young et al. (inpress), in which narratives of perceived parentalinfluence were analyzed, A. Waterman (personalcommunication, May 25, 1992) suggests that the resultingnarrative structures could likely be translated intoidentity status terminology.Consistent with this hypothesis, measures ofpsychosocial identity such as the identity status paradigmdeveloped by Marcia (1966) might be predictive ofdifferences in the quality of relationships between youngpeople and their parents--this in turn may affect theircareer development and pursuit of life goals. So, identitystatus might represent one of the variables contributingto the diversity of experiences of parental influence inthe explanation of young people’s career development. Itis expected that these themes would become evident throughindividual life story or narrative analysis.The attempt here then, is firstly, to more fullyunderstand how young people construct stories of theirlives accounting for parental influence on careerdevelopment, and to determine whether these narratives,and the themes therein, are reflective of identity statusissues. Secondly, through a narrative perspective, thisresearch will attempt to provide a new approach to11understanding identity status differences. Questions thatwill be considered in narrative analysis include:1. How do young adults experience the influence oftheir parents on their lives and careers?2. How are these experiences structured in relationto their life goals?3. Do individuals of differing identity statusstructure narratives of parental influence differently?4. Are there common themes associated with theexperience of parental influence on career developmentinherent in the narratives of individuals sharing anidentity status?5. Do the narratives show evidence of “crisis points”and “commitments” to particular career goals and values?In addressing the questions posed by this research,narratives of parental influence will first be classifiedand analyzed in terms of their structure, or in otherwords in terms of how each participant organizes specificevents in their lives in relation to their life goals. Therelationship between identity status classifications, asindicated by an identity status measure, and narrativestructure types will be considered. Secondly, to validatethe structural analysis, a phenomenological method willthen be applied to the data to discover dominant themesapparent in each narrative. Again, possible associationsbetween patterns of themes and identity status12classifications will be monitored.Definitions of termsThis section defines the terms to be used in thecurrent study.As the term will be used here, identity refers tohaving a clearly delineated self-definition, a self-definition comprised of those goals, values, and beliefswhich the person finds personally expressive and to whichhe or she is committed (Waterman, 1985). Identity isdiscussed using Marcia’s (1966), operationalizations ofErikson’s (1968) conceptualizations of identity formationduring adolescence (identity diffusion, foreclosure,moratorium and identity achieved--as described in anearlier section of this paper).The term career will be used in a very broad sense,meaning to include more than simply one’s vocationalchoice. A definition provided by Super (1980, p.282) isconsidered appropriate: “the combination of roles playedby a person during the course of a lifetime.” For example,Super discusses nine roles that an individual may movethrough during his or her career: child, student,leisurite, citizen, worker, spouse, homemaker, parent andpensioner. These roles vary in importance as he/she movesthrough life.Career development, also broadly defined, thusinvolves a process that:13...occurs over a lifespan and is significantlyinfluenced by self-concept and by social, physical,and psychological forces in one’s world (Pietrofesa& Splete, 1975, p.1).The subject of “one’s parents” was defined toparticipants in the current investigation as referring tothose individuals that each participant considered to betheir primary caregiver(s). Thus, the term “parent”, inthe current study, included biological mother and/orfather, stepmother and/or father, grandmother and/orgrandfather, and in one case, biological siblings.Several definitions of narrative have emerged in theliterature. For the purposes of the current study,narrative is synonymous with story. A story, then, is asymbolized account of actions of human beings that has atemporal dimension—-a beginning, a middle, and an ending(Sarbin, 1986). The story is held together byrecognizable patterns of events called plots, and centralto the plot structure are human predicaments and attemptedresolutions. In the current study, narratives will be usedas a means of understanding how young adults account forparental influence in their lives. The view is taken here,that whatever parents have done (or not done) to influencetheir children’s lives becomes part of the continuouslyconstructed and reconstructed narrative of individuallives (Young et al., in press).14Narrative structure is a term used to describe theanalyzed, completed narrative. By analyzing narratives or“everyday explanations” (Antaki, 1988) in terms of theirnarrative structure, they then become classifiable (athorough discussion of this process is provided insucceeding chapters).Significance of the StudyIt is hopeful that the questions asked by theproposed investigation will provide information that willfurther an understanding of the identity formation andcareer development processes, possibly suggesting a linkbetween the two fields of research. They are asked inattempt to further understand how young people constructstories of their lives accounting for parental influence,and the role that young people perceive parental influencehas played in their career development. Further, thesequestions consider whether experiences of parentalinfluence on career development may be reflective ofidentity status differences. Through such a connection,the narrative approach may provide a novel means ofillustrating identity status differences. Although thesequestions are largely oriented towards research andcontributing to psychological theory, clinicalimplications will also be considered.15CHAPTER TWOReview of the LiteratureIn this chapter, literature and research relevant tothe present study are discussed and compared. The chapteris organized into three main sections: Identity status andits relationship to career development, parental influencevariables, and the narrative approach in addressing thedomain of parental influence.The first section discusses relevant research in theliterature pertaining to identity formation and careerdevelopment. More specifically, articles followingMarcia’s (1966) operationalizations of Erikson’s (1968)conceptualizations of identity will be reviewed followinga brief overview of Erikson’s developmental theory. Areview of the two most widely used methods of assessingidentity status is also provided.Next, parental influence variables will be consideredas they relate to both the identity formation and careerdevelopment processes.In the final section of this chapter, argumentssupporting the use of narratives or life stories as anapproach to addressing developmental issues will bepresented, as will research dealing with theclassification of narrative structures.16Identity Status and its Relationship toCareer DevelopmentThe current investigation argues that one lifespandevelopmental theory of probable importance inunderstanding the developmental nature of vocationalbehaviour is Erikson’s (1968) psychosocial theory of humandevelopment. According to his theory, an individual goesthrough eight developmental stages, in each of which he orshe must cope with a central psychological problem orcrisis. The eight crises, in developmental order, asoutlined by Erikson are: basic trust versus mistrust,autonomy versus shame, initiative versus guilt, industryversus inferiority, identity versus identity or roleconfusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versusstagnation, and ego integrity versus despair. Anindividual’s resolution of each of the crises is reflectedin the attitudes which develop as the outcome of eachcrisis stage. These basic attitudes theoreticallycontribute to an individual’s psychosocial effectivenessand subsequent personality development (Erikson, 1968). Inshort, Erikson set forth a theory of identity developmentto account for the interactions between psychological,social, historical, and developmental factors in theformation of personality (Bennion & Adams, 1986). Ofparticular importance to the current study are the crisispoints during late adolescence associated with identity17formation (identity versus identity/role confusion). Aprofile of this stage is provided by Waterman andWhitbourne (1982):To have a strong sense of identity is to have aclear sense of self—definition, to know the goals,values and beliefs to which one is committed. To beidentity diffuse is to be uncommitted, to be vagueand unsure of who one is and where one wishes to goin life (p. 124)Erikson’s (1958) theory has become a major frameworkfor understanding adolescent development and the processof establishing an inner sense of identity during thisstage of life (identity versus identity/role confusion).In Identity: Youth and Crisis, Erikson (1968) describesidentity as “the more or less actually attained butforever revised sense of the self within social reality”(p. 211). He believes identity formation is a normativecrisis of adolescence, a synthesis of past and presentthat provides the adolescent with the initiative to launchinto the future and assume an adult role in society.Although there are tremendous variations in the duration,intensity, and ritualization of adolescence, he believesthat all individuals generally start with a lack of welldefined identity, which he calls Identity Diffusion. Inearly adolescence they may become foreclosed (e.g., theybecome committed to the values, beliefs and goals of18dignificant others). As life experiences increase, alongwith cognitive sophistication, there is quite naturally agreater exposure to a variety of options that areconsidered by the individual. This may result in amoratorium period during which the individual isstruggling with a variety of identity issues. At thispoint Erikson would consider these individuals to be in astate of identity crisis. The ultimate goal is to resolvethe crisis and to achieve an identity. Erikson (1968)asserts that this resolution of the crises of identityachievement versus identity confusion includes theevaluation of one’s own early identifications andsubsequent relationships with significant others. Itincludes commitment to a personal ideology whichintegrates self-definition, sex-role identification, andthe meaning of life. Further, identity is never a finalachievement, but a relatively cohesive integration ofone’s own capabilities, identifications, and values inrelation to society’s expectations and opportunities.Thus, identity formation does not originate, nor attainultimate resolution during adolescence, but continues as adevelopmental process throughout life (Erikson, 1968).Taken as a whole, Waterman (1988) points out thatidentity formation researchers seem to be in basicagreement with Eriksonian theory regarding the constructof identity itself and regarding the domains of an19individual’s life that are particularly salient in theidentity formation process (e.g., occupation, family).As such, Erikson proposed that determining an occupationalidentity, which includes the person’s connection to thecommunity through occupation, education, marriage, and/orchild rearing, represents one of the central challenges oflate adolescence. He states that “in general, it is theinability to settle on an occupational identity thatdisturbs most young people” (Erikson, 1959, p. 92, citedin Vondracek, 1992). Similarly, career developmenttheorists have suggested that the degree to whichindividuals are able to establish coherent occupationalplans seems to be linked to their progress in forming acrystallized identity (Harren, 1979; Super, 1957).Although Erikson’s ideas have been recognized for theirpossible theoretical significance in career development(e.g., Blocher, 1966, Tiedeman & O’Hara, 1963), only a fewempirical investigations have been done on this topic.Davis (1965) and Bell (1968), for example, studied therelationship between ego identity and vocational choice(cited in Waterman, 1985), and Hershenson (1967)investigated the relationship of ego identity tooccupational fit.Similarly, Patrick Munley (1975) explored therelationship between psychosocial development as describedby Erikson and career development and behaviour. He found20that individuals who have difficulty making vocationalchoices are less successful in resolving Erikson’s stagecrisis. Also, that individuals who are more successful inresolving stage crises issues are more successful indeveloping mature career attitudes. Crook (1982, cited inRaskin, 1985) also found support for the relationshipbetween resolution of stage crises and maturity in careerattitudes. This finding in particular seems to offersupport to developmental conceptualizations of vocationalbehaviour such as Tiedeman and O’Hara’s (1963) proposalthat career development takes place within the context ofpsychosocial development as described by Erikson.Taken as a whole, the findings of these fewinvestigations, although somewhat dated, indicate that egoidentity might be a promising variable in the study ofvocational behaviour and development. Munley (1975), inparticular, stated that Erikson’s theory “offers aframework for integrating career development with overallhuman development and makes a contribution toward offeringa perspective for integrating social factors andpersonality development with career development” (p.268).Similarly, Raskin (1985), in her discussion of therelationship between identity and career developmentargues that “the psychological processes used to specifyand implement occupational choice are parallel if notidentical to those central to the formation of identity21(p.30)”. Career development theorists such as Super(1957), and Tiedernan and O’Hara (1963) have made claimsthat seem to support this idea. For example, they statetheir interest in both the process and outcome ofoccupational choice, change, and career development, andseem to rely on general developmental principles to tryand account for these factors. They assert that:“individuals develop more clearly defined self—concepts asthey grow older.. .people develop images of theoccupational world that they compare with their self-imagein trying to make career decisions. . .the adequacy of theeventual career decision is based on the similaritybetween the individual’s self-concept and the vocationalconcept of the career s/he[sic] eventually chooses”(Osipow, 1973, p.10). Only recently however, havetheoreticians made arguments for the actual integration ofcareer development theory into the mainstream ofcontemporary developmental psychology (e.g., Grotevant &Cooper, 1985; Harmon & Farmer, 1983; Super, 1980).Studies Based on Marcia’s TheoryAs described earlier, in validating Erikson’sconstruct of ego identity, Marcia (1966) derived fouridentity statuses, each a pattern of coping with theadolescent identity crisis: Identity Achievement,Moratorium, Foreclosure, and Identity Diffusion.Individual status is based on the interaction of two22variables: exploration (the questioning of parentallydefined goals and values), and commitment (the selectionof personal goals and values). This classification systemhas generated considerable research which has indicatedthat there are both individual and developmentaldifferences in ego identity statuses on constructs such asdifficulty of college major, self-esteem,authoritarianism, and anxiety (Marcia & Friedman, 1970),changes in occupational and vocational choices throughoutcollege (Waterman & Waterman, 1972), cognitive style(Waterman, 1974), moral reasoning and development (Podd,1972; Rowe & Marcia, 1979), resistance to conformitypressure (Toder & Marcia, 1973), interpersonal style(Donovan, 1975, cited in Raskin, 1985), self-concept,parental identifications, peer group relations, anddefense mechanisms (Josselson, 1973), androgyny (Waterman& Whitbourne, 1982), self—consciousness, and self—focusing(Adams, Abraham & Markstrom, 1987), and adaptiveregression (Marcia, 1991). On the whole, Marcia’s egoidentity status paradigm has been the most popularoperationalization of Erikson’s concepts, employed byresearchers of over 100 journal articles and dissertations(Cote & Levine, 1988). Extensive reviews of the empiricalliterature are provided by Bourne (1978), Marcia, (1980),and Waterman, (1982).Although Marcia’s work has inspired a great deal of23research, it has also been criticized on the basis that itoversimplifies and does not validly represent Erikson’sviews (Cote & Levine, 1988). Cote and Levine point outthat research inspired by Marcia’s work has focused almostexclusively on a psychological perspective and that it hasled to a corresponding neglect of Erikson’s view thatidentity development occurs as a consequence of theinterplay between sociological, historical, andpsychological factors. In spite of this criticism however,Marcia’s paradigm has been strongly defended (Waterman,1985). As a result it has continued as the principalvehicle used by researchers in the study of identitydevelopment (Vondracek, 1992).An additional concern directed at the identity statusparadigm and its components involves the nature of theForeclosure status. Do Foreclosed persons, who have madecommitments to goals and beliefs, yet have not encounteredan identity crisis, in fact, have an identity? In theliterature on identity status, individuation and personalexploration, or crisis, are generally seen as thehallmarks of advanced identity formation (identity statusis defined as such in the current paper). This emphasishas extended to the negative appraisal of Foreclosure asan identity option (Marcia, 1980). Roe and Marcia (1980),however, assert that in order to be functional, anidentity does not necessarily have to be an achieved one.24Following this argument then, forclosed individuals dohave an identity--a Foreclosed identity. The content andstrength of the Foreclosed person’s commitments may be thesame as those of an identity achieved individual; what isdifferent is the process by which they were developed(Waterman, 1985). Some families or cultures, for example,may not encourage identity crises (e.g., when there existsclear, specific, social or familial expectations forconformity to traditional goals, values, and beliefs), soa Forclosed identity may be the most adaptive solution(Marcia, personal communication, cited in Bilsker, 1992,suggests the term “structural foreclosure” to describeindividuals who never make the transition into theMoratorium and Achieved statuses). Going through thedecision making process necessary to achieve an identitycan be a painful and unrewarding experience if no socialsupport is given for undergoing the crisis. Nonetheless,Erikson (1968) suggests that life crises make importantcontributions (either progressively or regressively) toone’s identity. Roe and Marcia (1980) suggest that theForeclosed identity represents a different level ofpsychosocial maturity, for it may become dysfunctional ifthe Foreclosed person’s social props are removed (forexample, if one leaves a society or culture that supportsa Foreclosed identity for another). Further, thatforeclosed persons have not completed the process of self—25definition (achieved through exploration andintrospection) that is necessary to reach a more “mature”identity. For these reasons, the Foreclosed identity,although an identity in itself, is considered to be lessstable and less advanced than the Achieved identity (Adamset al., 1987). In attempt to avoid such confusion, someidentity researchers have elected to focus instead on theexploratory nature of identity (e.g., the process ofquestioning different career alternatives) since manyadolescents do not seem to experience this period as acrisis, or critical turning point in their lives(Grotevant & Cooper, 1986).As suggested earlier, little attention has been paidto incorporating the ego identity status paradigm intocareer development theory and vice versa. Some empiricalresearch has revealed, however, that variations in egoidentity are associated with the attainment of acrystallized vocational identity (Grotevant & Thorbecke,1982), and other work-related behaviours (Larkin, 1987).Nonetheless, those articles that have attempted to linkthe two areas have also been criticized for their tendencyto use global measures of identity that do notdifferentiate between the various identity statuses (e.g.,Munley, 1975). Furthermore, those who have incorporatedthe different ego identity statuses have used interviewsor semiprojective measures (e.g., Grotevant & Thorbecke,261982)--some conceptual and methodological problems withinterview—based measures will be described in thefollowing section.Two recent studies examining the relationshipsbetween the identity formation process and ego identitystatuses, on the one hand, and various career developmentvariables on the other, have attempted to alleviate theabove noted limitations to some extent by using self—report psychometric measures (e.g., The Extended ObjectiveMeasure of Ego-Identity Status, Bennion & Adams, 1986).On the basis of a review of the ego identity andcareer development literatures, Blustein et al. (1989)proposed that variability in career exploration andcommitment might be related to characteristic differencesin the manner by which individuals explore and commit totheir ego identity in late adolescence. To testpropositions about the relations between careerdevelopment and identity formation, measures of egoidentity status (using a self-report measure, the EOMEIS2, Benriion & Adams, 1986), exploratory activity, andoccupational commitment were administered to 99 collegestudents. They found that exploratory activity in thevocational domain is related to the more far—reachingexploration that characterizes the Moratorium and IdentityAchieved statuses, and is inversely associated with theDiffusion status. They concluded that individuals who are27engaged in environmental and self—exploration also tend tobe involved in a broader process of seeking outinformation relating to various dimensions of theiridentities. A strong relationship between exploratoryactivity and the Identity Achieved status was also foundin this study, suggesting that individuals who haveattained a coherent ego identity also tend to reportexploratory activity. An additional finding suggests an“expected” relationship between occupational commitmentand the Foreclosure status.Blustein and Phillips (1990) examined the propositionthat individual decision making styles may be related tothe characteristic manner that persons use to gain theirego identity in adolescence. Two studies were thusconducted to identify the relations between ego identitystatuses and decision-making styles. In the first study,99 subjects completed the EOMEIS-2 (Bennion& Adams, 1986) and a measurement of decision—makingstyles. They found that persons in the IdentityAchievement status tend to rely on rational decisionmaking (planful and systematic; relying on one’s self toresolve decisions) and that the Foreclosed status isassociated with the dependent decision making style(relying on others to resolve decisions). This findingsuggests that rational decision making may be reflectiveof the autonomous exploration and commitment that is28associated with an adaptive formation of an ego identity,and that a reliance on dependent decision making may be amanifestation of an overall tendency to adopt one’sparental values and attitudes (which is characteristic ofForeclosed persons)In their second study Blustein and Phillips (1990)had 64 student subjects complete the EOMEIS-2 and a seconddecision—making inventory. They again found a strongrelation between identity achievement and logical,systematic decision making. Similarly, Foreclosure anddiffusion statuses were related to an absence ofsystematic information-gathering activities (consistentwith Marcia’s theory, and their results in study 1). Theseauthors also found an age influence suggesting that olderstudents are more likely to use systematic decision makingstyles. Taken as a whole, Blustein and Phillips provideempirical support for the position that differences indecision making styles may be tied to a developmentalprocess of exploring and committing to one’s ego identityin late adolescence. Consistent with theoreticalsuggestions in vocational psychology and adolescentdevelopment (e.g., Harmon & Farmer, 1983), thecharacteristic way in which persons resolve the identityversus identity diffusion psychosocial task seems to berelated to decision—making strategies in a relativelypredictable fashion.29Blustein and Phillips (1990) suggest that the resultsof these two studies offer some useful insights about thenature of differences in decision making, particularly inlight of the study described earlier by Blustein et al.(1989). The assumptions that those in the IdentityAchievement status tend to use planful, self—reflectivedecision strategies (Blustein & Phillips, 1990), and thatthey are likely to be actively engaged in careerexploration (Blustein et al., 1989), indicate that thesepersons tend to approach career decisions with carefuldeliberation. Likewise, the relation between theForeclosure status and the dependent decision making stylesuggests that the adoption of one’s parental attitudes inthe identity formation process has a harmful influence onone’s ability to make autonomous decisions.In summary, it is apparent that the relative absenceof research integrating the theoretical concepts of theidentity formation (e.g., the identity status paradigm)and career development processes is now being recognized.However, some empirical research does exist that supportsthe belief that career development theorists and identitytheorists are interested in very similar phenomena.Unfortunately, much of this support has been criticizedfor the use of interviews over self—report measures inassessing identity status.30Assessment of identity status.The most widely used method of assessing identitystatus is Marcia’s (1966) Identity Status Interview(Shulkin, 1990). This semi-structured interview takesapproximately 30-40 minutes to administer. Interviewtranscripts are usually coded by two or three judges usinga scoring manual that provides criteria for crisis,commitment, Identity Achievement, Moratorium, Foreclosure,and Diffusion with respect to each of the content areas(occupational, religious, political, and philosophicalideology). After rating each area separately, theinterview as a whole is assigned an overall identitystatus. According to Bourne’s (1978) review of theresearch on ego identity, overall identity status ratingsare agreed upon by two out of three judges approximately80% of the time. In his review of the literature, Marcia(1976) states that interjudge reliabilites range from 72%-90%. According to Bourne (1978), reliability ratings forthe three content areas are rarely published.Although it may provide rich descriptive data, theIdentity Status Interview is generally recognized to havemethodological limitations. In her methodological review,Raskin (1984) concludes that the variety and scope of thescoring procedures used limits the generalizability ofresults and also calls into question the extent to whichthe results are a function of error variance. For example,31she cites inconsistencies in the procedures by whichjudges are trained and in the scoring methods they aretrained to use. Training periods have reportedly rangedfrom 3 to 45 hours, scoring materials may be eitherwritten transcripts or audiotapes, and the methods used toassign an aggregate identity status on the basis of thedifferent content areas are rarely reported. In thosecases where judges disagree on an aggregate identitystatus rating, numerous methods have been used to resolvescoring differences, and those are often unreported aswell.Other methodological problems include the fact thatthe length of time needed to individually administer theinterview precludes testing large sample sizes, reducingthe generalizability of the results and precludingretesting. As a result, test-retest reliability is unknown(Bourne, 1978). Bourne also raises the possibility thatthe assignment of an identity status rating could beconfounded with. a subject’s verbal expressivity.Individuals who are highly articulate could be classifiedas Identity Achievers more often because they are moreadept at describing their feelings. In contrast,individuals who are less articulate might be more likelyto be classified as Identity Moratoriums or Diffusions.The identity status interview has been revised andelaborated to permit separate ratings of exploration and32commitment (Matteson, 1977). In addition, recent theoryand research regarding the importance of interpersonalrelationships in identity formation have led to theinclusion of additional content areas of friendship,dating, and sex roles (Grotevant, Thorbecke & Meyer,1982)In attempt to circumvent many of the problemsinherent in the use of the Identity Status Interview,Adams, Shea, and Fitch (1979) developed a written self—report instrument based on Marcia’s (1966) identity statustheory. It is designed to be quickly and easilyadministered, thus permitting the use of larger samplesizes. The instrument is objectively scored on the basisof self—report items and therefore doesn’t depend on coderinferences of interviewees’ responses. The measure haswell—established estimates of reliability, internalconsistency, and various forms of validity. Further, therevised version of the test, the EOMEIS-2 (incorporatingMarcia’s inclusion of an interpersonal domain to theidentity status paradigm, Bennion & Adams, 1986), isreported to also have no relationship with the Crowne—Marlowe Social Desirability Scale, indicating honesty inresponses by respondents. In addition, while retaining theuse of the four categorical statuses of Achievement,Moratorium, Foreclosure, and Diffusion, this self—reportinstrument also yields raw scores on each subscale in the33form of a continuous rating (Bennion & Adams, 1986). Thisfinal feature would allow for investigations requiringcorrelational analyses (Shulkin, 1990).To date, the EOMEIS-2 and its earlier counterpartshave been used in a wide range of investigations testingMarcia’s (1966) theory, however, only the two recentstudies by Blustein et al. (1989) and Blustein andPhillips (1990) have attempted to circumvent thelimitations inherent in the use of the interview, inaddressing identity status and career developmentvariables. The current investigation will thus support theuse of the EOMEIS-2 as the most effective measure of egoidentity status given its advantages as noted above.Gender differences in identity status.It has been claimed that Erikson’s theory and theidentity status constructs developed by Marcia (1966) aremore applicable to the understanding of late adolescentmales than of females (Gilligan, 1982). Gilligan (1982)argues, for example, that male and female constructions ofthe nature of reality are very different——that becauseearly social environments are experienced differently bymale and female children, basic differences recur inpersonality development. So, where female adolescents arethought to be primarily involved with interpersonaldevelopmental concerns, much of the work on identity hasfocused on such individuation concerns as vocational34choice and ideological beliefs, areas presumed to be ofmore salience to males (Waterman, 1985). As such,Erikson’s theory has been criticized for ignoringrelational issues of self—development——it fails torepresent the interdependence of adult life (Gilligan,1987). Recent articles are attempting to address thisissue through supporting the belief that bothindividuality (autonomy) and connectedness (intimacy) areimportant in the process of identity formation (e.g.,Weinmann & Newcombe, 1991; Campbell et al., 1984; Cooperet al., 1983). Further, they recognize that identityissues cannot be considered in isolation from otherpsychosocial issues, such as the development of intimacy.The study of sex differences in identity developmenthas produced varied and conflicting results. Some recentresearch has indicated, for example, that females reach amore advanced identity status (e.g., Identity Achieved)earlier than most males, possibly due to the earlier onsetof puberty (Grotevant & Adams, 1984). Fregeau and Barker(1986, cited in Adams et al., 1989), however, found thatfemales scored consistently higher on the Moratorium andDiffused subscales. In support of Gilligan’s (1982) ideas,further research has suggested that generally speaking,late adolescent males tend to be focussed more onoccupational identity issues and that females have a moreclearly defined sense of interpersonal identity35(Grotevant, 1983). It has thus been suggested that malesdeal with vocational and relationship issues sequentially,whereas females deal with them simultaneously (Gilligan,1982; Grotevant & Thorbecke, 1982). Nonetheless, Gilligan(1987) argues that an accurate assessment of genderdifferences cannot be undertaken until female developmentis better understood.With regard to gender bias inherent in the EONEIS-2,Adams et al. (1989) report that most of the studies usingthis measure report no significant gender differencesbetween identity statuses. This finding is likely due tothe measure’s distinction between ideological identity,which includes occupational, religious, political, andphilosophical life-style values, goals and standards, andinterpersonal identity, which incorporates aspects offriendship, dating, sex roles and recreational choices.Taken as a whole, research indicates that variabilityin the ego identity statuses does not appear to beassociated with gender differences (Blustein et al., 1989;Bennion & Adams, 1986; Waterman, 1985). Despite thefinding of fairly inconclusive results, however, thepossibility of gender differences is deemed an importantpoint to address in the current investigation as researchthat has been done in the area of family influence (citedbelow) does report gender based differences.36Family Influence VariablesAs mentioned previously, the study of identityformation with respect to identity status differences hastended to remain isolated from other literature addressingadolescent career development. The identity literature hasthus developed fairly independently from recent studiesthat have dealt with familial contributions to careerdevelopment (Grotevant & Cooper, 1988). So, although thefamily, or one’s parents, have been found to have asignificant influence on both identity formation andcareer development processes of adolescents, there hasbeen little attempt to integrate the two fields ofresearch. Recent research has, however, suggested thatidentity researchers and career development researchersare interested in very similar phenomena (Blustein et al.,1989)Studies on Identity StatusSeveral investigations have focused on the study ofsocial—environmental contexts that facilitate or retardidentity formation development. Familial or parentalbehaviours, for example, have been found to have asignificant influence. In his review of the literature,Waterman (1982) describes several antecedent conditionsrelating to or influencing the identity formation process.Among these are:1. The greater the identification with parents prior37to or during adolescence, the greater the likelihood willbe of forming and maintaining personally meaningfulcommitments. With strong identification, entrance into,and maintenance of, the Foreclosure status appears mostprobable.2. Differences in parenting styles (Becker, 1964,cited in Waterman, 1982) will be reflected in differencesin pathways of identity formation. Individuals withpermissive, neglecting, or rejecting parents may beexpected most frequently to be Identity Diffuse and tohave difficulty in successfully resolving identity crisesshould they occur. Those from authoritarian families maytake either of two quite divergent paths, becomingForeclosed on parental choices or rebelling and goingthrough an identity crisis. The former should be morecommon under circumstances where an adolescent is able toearn parental respect, whereas the latter should morefrequently occur where parental approval cannot be gained.A protective parenting style may expect to yield anoutcome characterized either by insecurity (IdentityDiffusion) or by conformity (Foreclosure). Finally,democratic parenting should be relatively conducive to theconsideration of identity alternatives and the forming ofpersonal commitments (Identity Achievement). Presence inthe Foreclosure status may also be expected where anyearly decisions are functional for the adolescent and meet38with parental support.3. The greater the range of identity alternatives towhich the individual is exposed prior to or duringadolescence, the greater the likelihood will be ofundergoing an identity crisis. Thus, homogeneouscommunities may be conducive to the forming andmaintaining of foreclosure commitments, whereas moreheterogeneous communities may serve to facilitate theentrance into an identity crisis.4. The nature of the social expectations pertainingto identity choices arising within the family, theschools, and the peer group will contribute to theidentity development pathways employed. Where one isexposed to social groups that seldom question receivedauthority, an identity crisis would appear less probablethan among groups where questioning is more common andeven encouraged.Waterman’s (1982) ideas, as they relate to theinfluence of families—-specifically parents, on theidentity formation of their children, have receivedconsiderable support in the literature (reviews of suchliterature are provided in Waterman, 1985, and Waterman,1982). In his exploration of the family’s role in thefacilitation of identity formation in adolescence,Grotevant (1983), for example, argues that adolescentswhose parents are sensitive to their needs for increased39autonomy promote exploration through granting theseadolescents the freedom to seek exposure to diverse modelsand options. The information the adolescent obtains insuch encounters enables the synthesis of his or her ownsense of personal identity, and provides an arena (throughpeers, for example) to receive feedback on new roles andidentities they might be trying on.Adams et al. (1989) suggest that moderate amounts ofconflict and disparate views on parent—adolescentrelationships can set the stage for an adolescent searchfor alternatives as the teenager disagrees with his/herparents’ views. This searching process theoretically leadsto more psychosocially advanced identity statuses.Conversely, that families that are highly cohesive maydiscourage exploration, thus inhibiting identitydevelopment.Cushing (1971, cited in Grotevant, 1983) administeredMarcia’s interview and Incomplete Sentence Blank alongwith a measure of parental behaviour to 147 male collegeupperclassmen. Results showed that parents of Foreclosedadolescents tended to be seen in a very positive light——accepting and positively involved, yet somewhatcontrolling and possessing. Foreclosed individualsreported feeling very close to their parents. Parents ofDiffused adolescents were perceived to have a verydifferent style: mothers were least possessive and40intrusive; fathers were least accepting and were high inrejection and withdrawal. Mothers of Moratoriumadolescents were seen as intrusive, controlling,inconsistent, and rejecting. Fathers were moderatelypositively involved and were seen as moderately high inboth acceptance and rejection. Mothers of IdentityAchievers were seen as moderately accepting and positivelyinvolved. Fathers of Identity Achievers were seen asmoderate in involvement but low in acceptance. The use ofan exclusively male sample in this study, however, limitsthe generalizability of the noted findings.LaVoie (1976) also studied perceptions of the familyidentity, and discovered some important genderdifferences. He administered Marcia’s Incomplete SentenceBlank and an 18—item questionnaire concerning perceptionsof parents’ warmth, concern, punishment, and consistencydisplayed to them when they were children, to 120 studentsof both sexes. Males scoring high in identity reportedless control by both parents and more praise by fathersthan those male subjects scoring low. High scoring femalesreported less maternal restrictions and greater freedom todiscuss problems with both parents than low scoringfemales.In a more recent study of female identity in a ruralhigh school sample, Adams and Jones (1983) examined therelation between identity status, as measured by the41Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (Adams, Shea &Fitch, 1979) and perceived parental socialization stylesat the time of the research. Analyses indicated thatidentity exploration (as indicated by the IdentityAchieved and Moratorium statuses) was associated withperceptions of low maternal control. Identity Achievementwas also associated with a moderate rating of maternalencouragement of independence. In addition, IdentityAchieved females felt that their fathers’ punishment wasmore fair than did females with other identity statuses.Cooper, Grotevant and Condon (1984) investigatedfamily process correlates of identity exploration (seealso Grotevant & Cooper, 1985; Grotevant & Cooper, 1986).They hypothesized that certain dimensions of familycommunication would be related to adolescents’ identityformation: self—assertion, which involved clear, directstatements of individuals’ points of views; separateness,or expressions of how the individual differs from others;permeability, which included communication behavioursindicative of openness to the viewpoints of other; andmutuality, which included behaviours that indicatedsensitivity to the needs of others in communication.Identity exploration itself was assessed by summing theratings of exploration made through Marcia’s interviewprocedure.These investigators found that both male and female42adolescents’ identity exploration ratings were positivelyrelated to father’s expressions of mutuality (especiallythrough initiating compromises and stating the feelings ofthe other). In addition, adolescents who had high identityexploration ratings tended to have fathers who werewilling to express separateness (through disagreements) totheir wives. This pattern suggested to the authors thatthe father’s openness to the adolescent and his freedom toexpress differences of opinion to his wife created acontext conducive to his adolescent’s identityexploration. With regard to maternal communicationbehaviours, those indicative of permeability were found tobe negatively correlated with identity exploration.Adolescents whose interviews were rated as highin exploration expressed higher levels of bothseparateness (through disagreements) and permeability.Cooper et al. (1984) note this pattern as being consistentwith Erikson’s view of identity: expressions ofseparateness demonstrate the adolescent’s ability todefine a sense of self as distinctive from others;permeability facilitates the adolescent’s access tovarious sources of information which will becomeintegrated into a sense of identity.Recent research is now suggesting that bothindependence from and connectedness with one’s parents areimportant in identity development. Pipp, Shaver, Jennings,43Lamborn, and Fischer (1985), for example, examinedadolescents’ perceptions of their relationships withparents from infancy through to the time of the study.They found that adolescents reported linear trends ofincreasing dominance, responsibility, independence, andsimilarity in their relationships with their parents. Withregard to emotional closeness, the adolescents reported asteady decline in the amount of emotional closenessperceived in the relationship from infancy through earlyadolescence, and then indicated a sudden large increase inthe amount of closeness in late adolescence. Thesefindings are explained by Pipp et al. (1985) as theadolescents interpreting their relationships with parentsin such a way as to allow for the maintenance of closenessin the face of increasing independence. These findingsindicate that both increasing independence andconnectedness may be important in adolescent development,however, these authors did not include a measure ofidentity status in their study.Weinmann and Newcombe (1990) similarly argue thatcurrent identity status influences the adolescent’sperceptions of his or her relationship to parents. Morespecifically, they posited that the establishment of astable sense of self, in the form of an identitycommitment, is the developmental transition necessary fora perception of increased closeness in the44adolescent/parent relationship. They thus administered theEOMEIS (Bennion & Adams, 1986) to 100 male and femaleundergraduates, along with a second questionnaire (Pipp etal., 1985) measuring six dimensions of parentalrelationships across five age periods. These dimensionsare love, responsibility, dominance, similarity,independence, and friendship. Their findings offeredsupport for patterns of increasing dominance, independenceand responsibility by adolescents for parents, asdescribed by Pipp et al. (1985). Further, that adolescentswho had made identity commitments perceived a greateramount of love towards their parents than those who hadnot made commitments. Their results seem to support theproposition that identity commitments are important forfeelings of intimacy in the adolescent-parent relationshipfor both male and female adolescents. These authors foundno gender differences in identity status ratings.Campbell, Adams and Dobson (1984) asked 286 studentsto respond to both the perceived relationship with theirmother and that with their father through theadministration of an identity status measure (the OM-EIS;Adams, Shea & Fitch, 1979) and a parent-adolescentrelation questionnaire. They found that a combination ofstrong emotional attachment, and relatively speaking, alower level of independence were the major ingredients inthe family dynamics of the home that distinguished45Foreclosed from Identity-Achieved youth (both statuseshowever, were found to be strongly bonded to theirparents). Conversely, while Identity Achieved youthsperceived themselves as highly attached to their mother,they also perceived greater independence from both oftheir parents. Similarly, Moratorium youths perceivedrelatively high levels of emotional attachment to theirparents, but, like Identity Achieved youths, reported agreater sense of independence from the family. Diffusedyouths were found to be the least emotionally attached totheir parents.The studies reviewed in this section provide evidencefor the role of family interaction in adolescentpsychosocial development. While earlier research hastended to focus on the importance ofseparation/individuation in identity development, morerecent articles are suggesting that adolescent developmentmay be viewed in terms of a transformation of theadolescent—parent relationship, as opposed to the breakingof the bond between parent and child. They thus convergeon the conclusion that both connectedness (indicated bysupport, cohesiveness, and acceptance) and individuality(indicated by disagreements, for example) in familyinteraction are both related to identity formation inadolescence. On the whole, it appears, for example, thatthose adolescents high in identity exploration (both46Moratorium and Identity Achieved statuses) tend toperceive positive involvement in their families andexperience active engagement in interaction. Further,affectional ties with mother and independence from fatherappear to be family relationship correlates associatedwith establishing a moratorium or identity achieved statusduring late adolescence (Campbell, Adams & Dobson, 1984).Grotevant (1983) however, notes a difficulty arising instudies examining the correlates of identity status(including family styles and personality variables), inthat identity status is not a stable trait. Rather, duringlate adolescence an individual may pass through severalidentity statuses (Waterman, 1982). Consequently, therelation between the correlated variable under study andidentity status depends in part on when the “snapshot” ofthe adolescent was taken (Grotevant, 1983). Another issuein studies of the family and identity formation is thatboth adolescents and their parents are continuallychanging and the parent—adolescent relationship is adynamic one. Again, results of studies would likely varydepending on the particular point in time adolescentsand/or their parents are asked to participate. Both ofthese limitations are noted in the current study as well.Studies on Career DevelopmentThe family has traditionally been thought of as animportant influence on the career development of children47(Young et al., in press). More specifically, the issue ofhow parents influence their children’s lives and careershas received considerable attention in the literature overthe years (e.g., Blustein, Waibridge, Friedlander, &Palladino, 1991; Grotevant & Cooper, 1988; Roe &Siegelman, 1964). Contextual variables such as parentalsocial class (Rehberg & Hotchkiss, 1979), parental supportand encouragement (Goodale & Hall, 1976), maternalemployment (Almquist & Angrist, 1971), parental educationlevels (Goodale & Hall, 1976), parental modelling,egalitarian parenting styles (see review by Schulenberg,Vondracek, & Crouter, 1984), parental power (Lavine, 1982)and identification with parents (Hocks & Curry, 1983;Oliver, 1975; Ridgeway, 1978) have been considered.Thorough reviews of this literature are provided bySchulenberg, Vondracek, and Crouter (1984), and Vondracek,Lerner and Schulenberg (1986). Taken as a whole, thefindings of these studies demonstrate the potentialinfluence of parents on the career development of theirchildren.More recent research is now dealing with therelationship between family interaction and adolescentcareer development. Results of these investigations areindicating that family members’ perceptions of wholefamily unit interaction explain variance in careeridentity (e.g., Penick & Jepsen, 1992). Collin and Young48(1986) assert that this systemic perspective is useful inthe study of career in that “it conceptualizes the natureof the person’s environment, its influence on the person,the person’s response to it, and the internal and externaladjustments which flow from this response”(p. 845). In other words, the influence of parents oncareer development of their children could be understoodfrom a perspective in which the interaction between thedeveloping person and the environment (e.g., one’sparents) is central.Grotevant and Cooper (1988) agree that the family andindividual should not be considered separately inconsidering effects on the career development process.Rather, individual development may only be understood interms of the constant interactions between the developingperson and the changing environment. They thus present aperspective on the family’s role in the career explorationand development of its adolescents and young adults,drawing upon the career development, identity formation,and socialization literatures. They support the argumentsstated in an earlier section of this paper that assertthat although career development has been assessed as onedomain of identity formation since Marcia’s (1966) workwas first published, no one has adequately explored thepotentially rich links between career development andidentity formation literatures. Further, neither career49development theories nor identity formation theories haveplaced great emphasis on the contexts in which developmentoccurs (e.g., one’s family), as both are focused moreclearly on the outcomes of development (e.g., careerchoice) . The danger here then, has been that research hasbeen conducted under the premise that career developmentand identity formation proceed in a uniform manner for alladolescents regardless of context, or other psychologicalresources. Grotevant and Cooper (1988) argue that thereare several relevant contexts for career development——thefamily is one of the most influential. This assertion isin accordance with the identity research cited earlierthat argues that the family continues to serve as animportant context for individual development throughoutadolescence into young adulthood.Grotevant and Cooper (1988) argue that most accountsof career development appear to assume that the process ofcareer exploration is experienced by all adolescents.However, family values about decision making, for example,may constrain or facilitate the decision making process.Also, security in family relationships can promotecompetence by freeing the child to become engaged withworlds outside the family, including the domains of peerrelationships and career choices. Grotevant and Cooper(1988) also emphasize both connectedness and individuationfrom the family as important for the exploration of career50alternatives. These same three factors (security in familyrelationships; individuality and connectedness) were alsocited earlier as being valuable in facilitating theexploration of alternatives for the development of asecure personal identity.Blustein et al. (1991) administered measures ofparental attachment, psychological separation, andvocational exploration and commitment to 178 male andfemale undergraduates. They found that progress incommitting to career choices occurred most readily forthose persons who experienced both independence from andattachment to their parents. This result supports thefindings suggested earlier in the identity formationdomain (e.g., Grotevant & Cooper, 1985) regarding thenecessity of considering both individuality andconnectedness in the development of adolescents and youngadults.The results of some empirical investigations offamily influence variables on the career developmentprocess seem to indicate the possibility of theadolescents’ identity status coming into play. Eigen,Hartman, and Hartman (1987), for example, studied therelationship between family interaction patterns andcareer indecision in a sample of 205 senior high schoolstudents. They found that family interactions thatfostered early, stable decision making were characterized51by a flexible structure accompanied by strong emotionalattachments, or else a more authoritarian structureaccompanied by an emotional-bonding pattern that permitsindividual freedom. This connection between strongemotional attachments and early, stable decision—makingseems characteristic of the perceived influence of parentson individuals in a Foreclosed identity status. Further,the association between decision—making and emotionalbonding that permits individual freedom would seem to beindicative of how parental influence is perceived byindividuals in the Identity Achieved status. The issue ofidentity, however, was not considered in this study.In summary, current research has shown the familysystem to be an important context for one’s developmentthroughout adolescence and at least into young adulthood(Grotevant & Cooper, 1988). Parental influence has thusbecome an essential element of identifying the manyfactors that influence career decision making.A number of investigators have identified the lateadolescent and young adult years as important for thecontinued evolution of relationships with parents. Theresearch cited here has supported the notion that theserelationships are tied to both the career development andidentity formation of the young person, however,empirically, the two developmental processes themselves(career development and identity formation), are only just52beginning to be linked. The current investigationtherefore looks at perceived parental influence on careerdevelopment as a possible indicator of one’s progress ofidentity formation in attempt to bring together these twotheoretical fields.A Narrative Aiproach to Understanding Parental InfluenceStories seem to be the natural way to recountexperience. They are a product of narrative thought(Robinson & Hawpe, 1986), meaning that they are a methodof organizing and recording social and personal events inattempt to make one’s life intelligible (Keen, 1986). Theyare, then, a way of understanding everyday life and can beapplied to virtually anything in our life--any person orincident in the past, present, or future (Robinson &Hawpe, 1986). Thus, narratives are personal (largelydependent on who does the storytelling), and incorporatethe feelings, goals, needs, and values of the people whocreate them. In short, they attempt to give meaning tohuman experience (Robinson & Hawpe, 1986) throughestablishing a relationship between a person’s pastexperiences and his or her engagements in the here—and—now.Elsbree (1982) recognizes storytelling or narrativethinking as a part of everyday life:We not only borrow other people’s and culture’sbasic plots and stories and adapt them to our53purposes; we resort to stories as ultimate kinds ofpersonal evidence. When we really want to explainwhy we married or got divorced, left a job or chosea school, accepted a faith or became sceptical, wetell a story or series of stories. After ourabstractions and generalities have failed toconvince or to be clear, we recite the parable ofour personal experience (p. 12)Sarbin (1986) treats the narrative as an “organizingprinciple for human action.” He proposes that human beingsthink, perceive, imagine, and make moral choices accordingto narrative structures. Our dreams, fantasies, anddaydreams, for example, are experienced as stories. Thenarrative, then, is a way of organizing episodes, actions,and accounts of actions; it allows actors to give reasonsfor their acts, as well as the causes of happening.Robinson (1990) illustrates the “storied nature ofhuman conduct” (Sarbin, 1986) through analyzing written,personal accounts of the lives of people with multiplesclerosis. He demonstrates that a clear feature ofpersonal accounts or stories in either written or oralform is their temporal structure——”.. .the recounting ofrelated events (in this case illness experiences) intemporal sequence together with some element of finale”(p. 1173). The narratives created indicated the importanceof the quest for meaning and particularly for mastery over54the unpredictable physical course of the disease.Maclntyre (1981) also makes a strong case forconsidering the narrative as central to the understandingof human conduct. He believes narratives, or stories areuseful in understanding the actions of others and oneselfin relation to others:In successfully identifying and understanding whatsomeone else is doing we always move toward placinga particular episode in the context of a set ofnarrative histories, histories both of theindividuals concerned and of the settings in whichthey act and suffer. It is now becoming clear thatwe render the actions of others intelligible inthis way because action itself has a basicallyhistorical character. It is because we all live outnarratives in our lives and because we understandour own lives in terms of the narratives that welive out that the form of narrative is appropriatefor understanding the actions of others. Storiesare lived before they are told-—except in the caseof fiction. (p. 197)Robinson and Hawpe (1986) suggest that experiencedoes not always assume narrative form. Rather:It is in reflecting on experience that we constructstories. The stories we make are accounts, attemptsto explain and understand experience. . .when it is55successful, the outcome of story making is acoherent and plausible account of how and whysomething happened.Taylor (1989) considers the theme of how we havebecome who we are, or influences in our lives, and itsrelation to narrative:.making sense of one’s life as a story is . . .notan optional extra; that our lives exist in thisspace of questions that only a coherent narrativecan answer. In order to have a sense of who we are,we have to have a notion of how we have become andwhere we are going. (p. 47)The research and theory described this far lendssupport to the notion of narrative as a means of“rendering one’s actions sensible” to oneself. Althoughthe current investigation follows this belief by using anarrative approach to address the domain of parentalinfluence, it does not so much deal with the “how” and“why” of past experiences (with parents) and theirsubsequent influence on the current functioning of youngadults. Rather, the emphasis is placed to a greater extenton the resulting stories themselves. In a sense then, itis the outcome of narrative thinking as opposed to theprocess itself that is being examined here. It is howindividual narratives or plots are structured, and howone’s identity status may influence how they are56structured that is being considered.The issue of classifying plots, or narratives, hasbeen addressed by a number of writers. White (1973), forexample, has suggested tragedy, comedy, romance, andsatire. Northrup Frye (1957) has provided a more elaboratetheoretical summary of narrative forms. He describes fourbasic forms of narrative related to the cyclical changesof the seasons.Gergen and Gergen (1986) suggest that the mostessential ingredient of narrative accounting (orstorytelling) is its capacity to structure events in sucha way that they demonstrate, first, a connectedness orcoherence, and second, a sense of movement or directionthrough time. So, to succeed as a narrative, the accountmust first establish a goal state or valued endpoint. Withthe creation of the goal condition, the successfulnarrative must then select and arrange relevant events insuch a way that the goals state is rendered more or lessprobable. Gergen and Gergen (1986) thus view narrative asa guide to account for human actions across time (e.g., tomake ourselves intelligible to each other). In outliningtheir model of narrative structure, they argue that therecan only be three prototypical narratives forms: those inwhich progress toward a goal is enhanced (progressivenarrative), those in which it is impeded (regressivenarrative), and those in which no change occurs (stability57narrative)Stable personal narratives are the most ‘unstorylike’ in the sense that “lives are narratively constructedas a series of events or experiences, located in literal,rather than personal or social time, in which ‘valuedpersonal goals’ are not easily ascertainable, and in whichthe linkage between events and experiences is understated”(Robinson, 1990). Progressive personal narratives, on theother hand, may follow many different narrative paths.However, their essence is of a positive construction ofevents and experiences in terms of personal goals——such ascareers or personal relationships. These narratives likelyshow an essence of reassertion of personal control(Robinson, 1990). Regressive narratives are those whichpresent a story of continual and increasing discrepancybetween ‘valued personal goals’ and the possibility oftheir attainment.The three basic narrative types as proposed by Gergenand Gergen (1986), may be considered bases for morecomplex variants. Robinson (1990), for example, classifiedwritten accounts of personal narratives of individualswith multiple sclerosis following this framework. Variantsof the progressive narrative were discovered. The mostdramatically engaging progressive narratives, for example,were designated as heroic. In these, progression towardslife goals had not been overturned by the potentially58personally and socially damaging effects of the illness.In detective stories, another type of progressivenarrative, life is perceived as a mystery——at points anadventure, in which the skills of the narrator are madeexplicit. A detached documentary narrative represented astable narrative type in that events and experiences aredocumented as though they happened to a third party (a“dictionary of events”). Two types of regressivenarratives were labelled the tragic narrative, or storiesin which life goals were dramatically interruptedfollowing the onset of the illness, and sad narratives, inwhich experiences were documented as progressively slopingaway from life goals. In sad narratives, narrators neverappeared to express any hope towards progressing towardlife goals.Young et al. (in press), in their investigation ofnarrative retrospective accounts of parental careerinfluence, discovered five variations of Gergen andGergen’s (1986) progressive and regressive narrativestructures in their sample of 50 young adults. Three ofthese structures represented variations of the progressivenarrative. In the Progressive Narrative with a DramaticTurning Point, Young et al. (in press) describe the hopeand expectations of the young person being undermined fromchildhood by what is seen by him or her as poor parenting.The resulting despair and hopelessness of the child59continues until there is a dramatic climax or turningpoint, Subsequently, life is reconceptualized as hopeful.In the Progressive Narrative Within a Positively EvaluatedFrame, a successful outcome is achieved through theaccommodation of the child to the parents’ influence.There is an explicit lack of rebellion; the parents, theirvalues and way of life are seen as appropriate——oftenidealized. The Progressive Narrative With NegativelyEvaluated Stages involves the young person realizing avalued career or life outcome despite parental influence.The past influence of parents is seen as both positive andnegative, however, as the person matured the actions oftheir parents were seen as often inhibiting theirattainment of career and life goals. Gradually, however,the young person is able to win the struggle with his orher parents.The two resulting structures in this study wereclassified as regressive. In the Anticipated RegressiveNarrative, the young person’s life is characterized byfate. The main theme is that ultimately there can be noreconciliation between the parent’s influence and theperson’s own life course——a negative outcome is consideredinevitable. Finally, Young et al. (in press) describe theSad Narrative as being one in which the narrator tells hisor her life without goals, with little hope of developingthem, and poor self—esteem. There is little sense that60things will get better or worse.The narrative types proposed by Young et al. (inpress) seem to reflect issues of identity status asproposed by Marcia (1966). The progressive narrative witha dramatic turning point and the progressive narrativewith negatively evaluated stages, for example, sound likestories that would be told by moratorium and identityachieved youth (A. Waterman, personal contact, May 25,1992). In both narrative structures, crisis points orstruggles with the parental system are evident. Waterman(1985) notes that in the developmental history of identityachieved youth, crisis may be comprised of a clearlydefined choice point in time when the person weighed thestrengths and weaknesses of different possibilities(dramatic turning point), or for others, it is evident ina series of changes in plans or beliefs that have beenmade over a number of years (negatively evaluated stages).For moratorium youth, their narratives will indicate acurrent struggle or crisis, however, like the identityachieved youth, there is a positive outlook on life andtoward the eventual attainment of goals (however vaguethey may be at the current time).The progressive narrative within a positivelyevaluated frame seems typical of a story that would betold by a foreclosed youth. In these stories, there is nomention of a struggle with parental values or attitudes61(crisis), in fact they seem to have been incorporated intothe individuals own goals (commitment). A strongidentification with parents is evident in thesenarratives, and the future is evaluated positively.A. Waterman (personal contact, May, 25, 1992) furthersuggests that the two regressive narrative types proposedby Young et al. (in press) might be expected by identitydiffused youth. In these stories there are no firmcommitments to any goals, nor is there evidence of anyattempt to form them. These individuals appear to takethings as they come without any thought to the future.Taken together, Waterman’s (personal contact, May 25,1992) suggestions as they relate to the study by Young etal. (in press), will be considered in the proposedinvestigation.In the current study, narratives will conform to therules of what Gergen (1988) suggests constitutes a“reasonable story”. Narrative construction is said torequire, for example, the establishment of a valuedendpoint or goal toward which the action of the story isdirected. A coherent narrative line is then achieved byselecting and ordering events around this endpoint. So,all narrative plots may be converted from story form tolinear form with respect to their evaluative shifts overtime. Gergen (1988) notes that an advantage of thisapproach is that, “subjective appraisals of life events62can be converted to dimensions that are quantifiable”.Thus narratives can be compared and combined in a fairlyquick and easy manner.There exists considerable support for the use of anarrative approach in dealing with developmental issues.Further, the idea of classifying narrative plots is nowbeing considered a valuable method used in empiricalinvestigation. Nonetheless, the narrative approach itselfhas been criticized for its retrospective nature.Perceptions of past experiences, for example, rely onrecall that may be inaccurate.Countering this argument, Spence (1982) introducedthe notion of narrative truth as distinct from historicaltruth for understanding an individual’s past. He arguedthat the very notion of understanding the “real” truth ishighly problematic--the human mind (memory) is notpassive; it is always actively interacting with andchanging the understanding of its own past. Further, hestates that since historical facts are few and oftenambiguous, it is narrative truth that brings interpretivemeaning into a person’s life.Other researchers too, have supported this belief.White (1980) has characterized historical writing as: “thefacts do not speak for themselves, but. . . the historianspeaks on their behalf, and fashions the fragments of thepast into a whole” (p. 47). Crites (1986) similarly argues63that the remembered past is situated in relation to thepresent in which it is recollected.Riessman (1990) concurs with the argument thatwe will never have access to “real truth”, only arepresentation of it that is embedded in narrative. Shedescribes narrative retelling as “a near universal form ofordering our worlds allowing us to make connections, andthus meaning, by linking past and present, self andsociety. Following this belief, she analyzes the narrativeof a divorcing woman to show how individuals attachmeanings to events in their lives by constructing storiedaccounts of them. She details the process her subjectengaged in to realize themes through language, how sheorganized the narrative she told around her definition ofthe situation, and how she reconstructed the temporalsequence of events that led to the separation by investingthese events with meaning and morality.In summary, narratives can be seen as critical to theways in which people understand themselves and theirlives, past and present, and how their futures might be(Sarbin, 1986; White, 1980). It is through embedding one’sactions in narrative form that one’s actions andinteractions with others take on meaning; they belong to aperson with a certain past, heading in a certaindirection, and with a future that will represent anextension of this past (Gergen, 1988). Further, the64particular form, or structure that narratives acquire, forany person, is an outgrowth of the social relationships inwhich one is currently embedded (Gergen & Gergen, 1986).In the current investigation, narratives provide away of adding to our understanding of how young peopleincorporate parental influence into the broader picture oftheir lives. More specifically, they will provide examplesof how young adults construct coherent stories of theirgoals, careers, and lives in relation to their families oforigin. Further, they will provide an opportunity to givean account of the process of establishing separatenessfrom and/or connectedness with one’s parents——essentialingredients for the necessary exploration of alternativesin the development of a career or personal identity.Finally, narrative structures will represent a particularproduct of the unique social relationship that each personhas with his or her parents.It is recognized that narratives structuresaccounting for perceived parental influence, like identitythe statuses are not fixed nor static. As individuals gothrough their life course, different interpretations ofparental influence may emerge (Young et al., in press).Narratives recounted here, will thus represent thenarrators’ interpretations of their experiences at aspecific point in their lives.Taken as a whole, the research reported in this65chapter draws on three major bodies of literature:identity formation, career development and narrativepsychology. The issue of parental influence is brought inas a common variable whose contribution to both theidentity formation and career development of adolescentsand young adults has been strongly supported. In a sensethen, parental influence may represent a way of bridgingthese two separate fields of research. As the currentinvestigation will be dealing with two developmentalprocesses (implying a connection between the past, presentand future in the formation of an identity and in thechoice of a career), the narrative approach seems a veryappropriate method of dealing with how individuals haveexperienced parental influence in their lives. So, tobring these various fields together for the purposes ofthis investigation, it is hypothesized that narrativeswritten about parental influence on career developmentmight actually be reflective of the perceptions ofindividuals at different stages of identity formation aswell.66CHAPTER THREEMethodThis chapter discusses the parameters of the researchand how the study itself was carried out. Demographicinformation of the subject sample is provided, as are thepsychometric data of the instrument to be used, and theprocedures involved.SampleA sample of subjects from an introductory psychologyclass of a lower mainland college was recruited for theproposed investigation. A total of 49 individuals, or 21male and 28 female 18 to 23 year-olds, completed theidentity status measure (phase 1 of this investigation).Of the original 49, 25 subjects agreed to participate inan interview that dealt with their perceptions of parentalinfluence in their lives. Eleven of twenty-five subjectshad scores on the identity status measure that classifiedthem as “pure” identity status types. As “pure” typeclassification scores were the only scores of interest inthe current study, these 11 participants were called inand completed the interviews (the second phase of thisinvestigation).This subject group was considered appropriate for theproposed investigation as the general purpose of the studyrequires investigating an age range of individuals whowill likely show variability in their stages of identity67formation, and who will have, in a sense, already beeninfluenced by their parents.InstrumentationDemographic InformationEach volunteer was asked to complete a briefdemographic questionnaire (Appendix C). The purposes ofthis questionnaire were to ascertain whether the candidatemet the criterion for this study, and also to providedescriptive information about each participant. While agewas the only essential criterion for participation in thisstudy, additional demographic data contributed todeveloping a broader picture of the subjects interviewed.Information was collected about the subject’s age, gender,place of residence, year in school, and career goals.Measurement of Ego Identity StatusIn order to assess each individual’s progress inresolving the identity versus identity diffusionpsychosocial task, subjects were be administered theExtended Objective Measure of Ego-Identity Status (EOMEIS2; Bennion & Adams, 1986), contained in Appendix D. TheEOMEIS-2 is a 64-item self-report measure based on theObjective Measure of Ego Identity Status (OMEIS; AdamsShea & Fitch, 1979). Both the OMEIS and the revisedversion are based on Marcia’s (1966) identity statustheory. The original OMEIS is an objective measure of thethree content areas assessed by Marcia’s (1966) Identity68Status Interview: occupation, religion, and politics.Adams and Grotevant (1983) revised the OMEIS to include anadditional ideological content of philosophical lifestyle,as well as an interpersonal domain which included thecontent areas of friendship, dating, sex roles, andrecreational choices (EOMEIS-1). Bennion and Adams (1986)developed the EOMEIS-2, which is similar to the EOMEIS-1with the exception of the interpersonal items which wererevised to improve their reliability and validity.Using a 6-point Likert response format, respondentsanswer items in the ideological content areas ofoccupation, religion, politics, and philosophical lifestyle, and items in the interpersonal content areas offriendship, dating, sex—roles and recreational choices.Subjects report the presence or absence of a crisis periodand commitment in each area. Each of the eight contentareas is measured by eight items——two items for eachidentity status originally delineated by Marcia (1966),e.g., Achievement, Moratorium, Foreclosure, andDiffusion. Scores on each of the scales provide a measureof the relative degree of prevalence of a given egoidentity status. Because it was of interest to the currentstudy to obtain an overall measure of ego—identity status,ideological and interpersonal subscales for each of theidentity statuses were combined (cf. Grotevant & Adams,1984)69The EOMEIS-2 has had, since the development of itsearliest counterpart (OM-EIS; Adams, Shea & Fitch, 1979),considerable research efforts focused on its level ofvalidity and reliability. Validation studies reported byBennion and Adams (1986) suggest good to strong internalconsistency of the four identity status scales withcollege (Adams et al., 1979) and high school students(Adams & Jones, 1983). Further investigations of thereliability of the EOMEIS-2 indicate moderate to highinternal consistency, ranging from .62 to .80 on bothideological and interpersonal subscales. With regard totest—retest reliability, Adams, Shea and Fitch (1979)found correlations of stability for the subscales rangingfrom .71 to .93 (p’s < 0.01 or better) for intervals offour weeks on the prototype version of this measure, theOM—EIS. In short, evidence supports moderate to strongconsistency between items on the EOMEIS-2 and itsconsistency over time.With regard to validity, the “expected” relationshipsbetween the identity status subscales showed evidence fordiscriminant and convergent validity (Bennion & Adams,1986). Although there is potential for self—report scalescores to be contaminated by social desirability responsebias, no significant relationships were found between theideological and interpersonal scales and a socialdesirability response measure. Estimates of predictive and70concurrent validity were provided by correlations betweenthe identity subscales and measures of personalityconstructs such as self—acceptance, locus of control,intimacy, rigidity and authoritarianism. Theseassociations were theoretically consistent (Bennion &Adams, 1986). Face validity was addressed by the ratingsof a panel of trained student judges, who were able (with94.6% agreement) to judge the items as representative ofthe appropriate status.The Marcia Ego Identity Interview (Marcia, 1966) iswidely accepted as a valid measure of ego development(Waterman, 1982). Thus, the comparisons of the statusderivation of the interview and the EOMEIS-2 seem criticalin further assessing concurrent validity. Severaldifferent methods of comparing the EOMEIS-2 and the Marciainterview strategy as identity assessment methods havefound moderate to high agreement in status classification.An investigation by Adams et al. (1984) has demonstratedthat comparison categorizations between the original CM—EIS (Adams, et al., 1979) and the Ego Identity Interviewcan reach 80% agreement or higher. Strong evidence forconcurrent validity between the original OM-ElS andMarcia’s (1966) Ego Identity Incomplete Sentence Blank hasalso been established across validity studies of the CM—EIS (Adams et al., 1979).Taken as a whole, Bennion and Adams (1986) have paid71considerable attention to developing the EOMEIS-2 as apsychometrically sound measurement device. Further, theextensive body of research on identity development thathas utilized the OM-EIS (Adams et al., 1979), EOMEIS—1(Grotevant & Adams, 1984), and EOMEIS-2 (Bennion & Adams,1986), has added to its validity, thus strengtheningconfidence in its ability to be sensitive to identitystatus differences in the current study.Narrative Structure as an Assessment of Parental Influenceon Career DevelopmentAs the major life decisions that direct careerdevelopment seem themselves to be composed of the past,present, and future, and because the notion of influencetoo, seems to imply a similar connection, the use ofnarratives or life stories was considered appropriate forthe current investigation. In the present study, then,narrative accounts will be used as the bases for theexploration of the ways in which young adults constructthe domain of parental influence in explanation of theirown career development.Interview methodsTo meet the objective of this research——to record theexperience of perceived parental influence——a focused,nondirective interview style was chosen. Such an interviewrelies on the interviewer covering a series of topics inthe form of open ended questions [a full description of72the introduction and questions is provided in Appendix E,and follows a procedure developed by Young et al., (inpress)].Volunteers were made aware during the initial contactthat first interviews would be approximately one to oneand a half hours in length, and that the follow-upinterview would last approximately 30 minutes in length.In order to retain the full story of each subject,interview protocols were audiorecorded and latertranscribed.As previously stated, to encourage the development ofeach individual life—story, a semi—structured interviewformat was used. The interview schedule is presented inAppendix E. Participants were invited to tell about theirown lives: where they were in their career development,what was important to them, what their goals were, and theinfluence they perceive their parents had had on theirlives and careers. Subjects were encouraged to elicitspecific incidents from their pasts in which they felttheir parents had particularly influenced them (Flanagan,1954). They were be asked to describe the incident itself,and their response to it: what they did and felt after theincident. Participants were then asked to judge whetherthey felt the incident was helpful or harmful to theircareer development. Lastly, subjects were asked whetherthey expected to reach their future life goals.73Follow-up interview.Upon completion the data collection and analysis, allsubjects interviewed received a verification or follow—upinterview. During this interview subjects received aprinted summary and interpretation of their own stories.Subjects were asked if these stories accuratelyrepresented their experiences as they had narrated them inthe previous interview. They were asked if they wished tomake any corrections or additions to their stories. Thepurpose behind this interview was to establish if eachindividual subject felt understood so that theirexperiences would be rendered “true” in the analysis. Thequestions that were asked as a part of this interviewwere:1. “Do you feel that this summary captures yourexperience with regard to how you feel your parents haveinfluenced you in your career development?”2. “Is there anything in your story that you feel isinaccurate; anything that you would like to take out orchange?”3. “Do you have any other thoughts or feelings thathave come up for you since we last met that you would liketo add to your story?”Reliability and validity.Reliability can be achieved in narrative researchprimarily through the dependability of the data74(Polkinghorne, 1988). Dependability relies on thetrustworthiness of the taping, the transcripts made, andthe ability of the interviewer to elicit as much data aspossible without leading the narrator. Robinson and Hawpe(1986) suggest that stories cannot be tested likehypotheses because authentic events cannot be replicatedunder controlled conditions. Similarly, Polkinghorne(1988) asserts that reliability in narrative studies do“not have formal proofs of reliability, relying instead onthe details of their procedures to evoke an acceptance oftrustworthiness of the data” (p. 177). Following thisbelief, Sandelowski (1986) suggests that qualitativeresearch, although nonrepeatable, derives a measure ofreliability from a procedure outlined by the researcherthat can be clearly followed so that another researcher,using the same perspectives and similar data would arriveat similar conclusions. These criteria are met in theproposed study through the procedures described above andthe detailed outline provided in Appendix E.Polkinghorne (1988) states that validity in narrativeresearch depends on “the strength of the analysis of thedata” (p. 176). This involves the recognition of theresearcher’s own attitudes and perceptions both during theinterview and in the analysis of the data. The task of theresearcher is to accurately report the meaning of theexperience as it was reported by the narrators. In the75proposed investigation, respondent validation will beachieved through the use of the second interview to readthe summary of the narrative to the narrator anddiscussing it following the outline described above.ProcedurePrior to the administration of the identity statusmeasure, the class was introduced to the purpose of thestudy. They were informed that they were being asked toparticipate in a research project for a Masters thesis incounselling psychology at the University of BritishColumbia that deals with identity and how individualsperceive the influence of parents on their lives andcareer development. Further, that the study consisted oftwo phases: the first involved completing a questionnairethat looks at how they understand and view themselves; thesecond involved being interviewed about how they feeltheir parents had influenced their lives and careers. Theywere also told that being called to participate in thesecond phase of the study would depend on their ownwillingness to participate, as indicated on the consentform, and their scores on the measure in the first phaseof the study. The class was assured that theirparticipation in the study was completely voluntary, thatit was not a class requirement, and that it would notaffect their overall standing in their course. The classwas then asked to complete a consent form (Appendix D) if76they were willing to participate, with the understandingthat by signing the form they are also indicating consentto be contacted by the researcher for the intent ofsetting up an interview time.Subjects volunteering for the current study werefirst given the consent form (Appendix A) followed by thedemographic questionnaire (Appendix C), and the ExtendedObjective Measure of Ego Identity Status (EOMEIS-2;Appendix D). When all subjects had completed the EOMEIS-2and the additional forms, they were collected.All test forms were scored according to proceduresoutlined in the manual for the EOMEIS-2 by a trainedstudent researcher who was not the primary investigator inthe current study. The purpose behind this procedure wasto minimize possible interviewer bias in the second phaseof the study (interviews) stemming from prior knowledge oftest scores and identity status results. The principalinvestigator was told who to contact for the interviewsand had access to test results upon completion of theanalysis of the interviews.Those individuals with high scores in one of the fourstatus categories, Identity Achieved, Moratorium,Foreclosed and Identity Diffused (scoring one or morestandard deviations above the mean for the authors’norms), and low scores in all of the other three (lowerthan one standard deviation above the mean) were called77for an interview. Bennion and Adams (1986) label thesesubjects “pure” types, contrasting them to “transition”types, or those who score greater than one standarddeviation above the mean in two or more of the identitystatus categories, and “low profile” moratoriums, whoscore lower than one standard deviation above the mean inall of the identity status categories.Prior to the initial interviews, participants werereminded that by signing the consent form in phase one,they had given permission to be audiotaped during theinterview and to have portions of the conversation writtenup in the findings of this study (see Appendix A). Theywere assured that their names and identities would be keptcompletely confidential. The interviews themselves lastedapproximately one hour in length and followed the formatdescribed in Appendix E. Upon completion of the interview,each subject was told that they would be notified uponcompletion of the analysis to set up a follow—up interview(approximately four weeks).As noted previously, follow—up interviews lastedapproximately 30 minutes in length for the purpose ofverification of completed narratives. They, too, were beaudiotaped in order to retain individual comments,additions and changes to the personal narratives.Analysis and InterpretationPersonal data was collected to ensure that all78subjects were of appropriate age for the current study (18to 25 years).Subjects were categorized into one of four identitystatuses on the basis of their scores on the EOMEIS—2 (asdescribed in the procedure), following the classificationrules outlined in the reference manual (Adams, Bennion &Huh, 1987, 1989). The researcher did not have access tothis information until the completion of narrativeanalysis.After each interview, the narratives were transcribedusing both narrator’s and individual’s words. With regardto narrative structure analysis, the approach offered byGergen and Gergen (1986) was used. These authors arguethat there are three basic narrative structures which arebased on an individuals personally evaluated movement inrelation to their own life goals: A progressive narrativedescribes an individual moving towards personally valuedgoals, a regressive narrative, indicates movement awayform such goals, and a stable narrative shows theindividual sustaining the same position in relation totheir valued life goals throughout the narrative sequence.It was hypothesized that the narratives developed in thecurrent study would be representative of, or slightvariations of, progressive, regressive, and stablenarrative types.The coding of narratives in order to categorize them79on the basis of Gergen and Gergen’s (1986) model, werebased on the means—end sequences outlined by Alexander(1988). This procedure involves attending to the sequenceof events summarized in the narratives, focusing on theoutcome of each event and determining whether the affectinvolved is positive or negative. So, critical incidentsin each narrative were analyzed by reducing them using thesequence, outcome and affect categories proposed byAlexander, thus making it possible to determine theoverall direction and coherence of each person’s narrative(Young, et al. in press).Once narrative structures were analyzed, narrativesthemselves were then examined and interpreted in furtherdetail using a method of phenomenological reduction asdescribed by Giorgi (1975, pp. 72-79). This processpermits the “examination of all possible presentation ofevents that make up an experience and demonstrate theirstructural unity”.Giorgi (1975) refers to a process of identifyingelements that will comprise “meaning units” in theexamination of phenomena. This involves reading, rereading and reflecting on the content of each transcript,highlighting and recording the words and phrases of anynew thoughts perceived, and sorting these words andphrases according to similarity and intent (alltranscripts in this investigation were sorted together).80All groupings would then be given a categorized heading.To examine the expression of the central themes,Giorgi (1975) suggests re-reading protocols in light ofthe new categories. The structure of the experience couldthen be answered by the question: “What does this tell meabout identity formation, and the experience of parentalinfluence on the career and life direction of youngadults?”These steps permitted the organization of individualperceptual experiences into groups or categories whichcould then be synthesized into a consistent structure ofthe identity formation and the experience of perceivedparental influence in young adulthood.Following the structural and thematic analysis ofpersonal narratives, the researcher then had access toidentity status information in order to assesssimilarities and differences in narrative structure andthemes in narratives of individuals within and betweenidentity statuses. Finally, a chi square analysis wasapplied to the data with regard to assessing statisticallythe possibility of a relationship between narrative typesand identity status categories.SummariesA summary of the protocols was be prepared for eachindividual reflecting the meaning of their experiences.Each summary was a condensation of what was said by the81individual during the initial interview. No attempt wasmade to place the narrative into a historical contextoutside of what which had been described.LimitationsMuch of the value of research lies in its ability tobe generalized. The current investigation does havelimitations in this regard. First of all, the sample wasrestricted to the experience of parental influence ofyoung adults who were registered in an introductorycollege psychology class. Their results, therefore, cannotbe generalized to all groups of people who may share aparticular identity status. The small number of studentsrepresenting the Identity Diffuse and Moratorium statusesfurther inhibits generalization. Further, the sampleconsists of ten caucasian students and one student ofasian origin, so was not therefore culturallyrepresentative.Secondly, the large volume of data generated from theinterviews, has necessitated the relatively small samplesize. Generalizability, therefore, can be gauged on a‘goodness of fit’ (Guba & Lincoln, cited in Sandelowski,1986) principle, rather than on a large sample. It is thereader that decides whether the findings are “meaningfuland applicable, in terms of his or her own experience”(Sandelowski, 1986, p.32).A third limitation involves the combining of the82identity status tool, which is static-oriented, with theuse of narrative, a very process—oriented approach. Assuch, the identity measure represents one’s stage ofidentity formation at a particular point in time. It doesnot capture the continually evolving process of identityformation (eg., progression to and regression from aparticular identity status throughout the lifespan).A fourth limitation arises from the nature of thestudy, and the fact that experience is private, andcontinuously changing. Narrative research, therefore, isnot repeatable in the traditional sense. The retelling ofa story would be coloured by the experience of the firsttelling and is therefore not the same. Narratives ofparental influence produced in this study, therefore,represent perceptions of the narrators’ experiences at aparticular point in time, with the understanding thatthese same experiences, in time, might be reflected uponand perceived quite differently by those involved. Becauseof the noted limitations, the results of the proposedstudy can only be stated as approximations that tendtoward truth.83CHAPTER FOURResultsThis chapter describes the findings of the currentinvestigation. It is divided into three sections, eachoutlining the results of a different form of analysis thatwas performed on the data. The first section discusses thestructural analysis of the completed narratives, thecategorization of narrative types, and observedassociations with overall identity status classifications.The second describes statistical findings with regard tothe relationship between identity status and narrativestructure. Finally, a full discussion of the themes thatemerged from a phenomenological analysis of the completednarratives and their observed associations with identitystatus classifications are provided in the third sectionof this chapter.Results are based on the data obtained from 11interviews that were generated from the scale scoreresults of 49 participants who completed the EOMEIS-2. Inother words, of the original 49 participants who completedthe identity status measure, 25 agreed to an interview,and of the 25, 11 had scale scores that classified them as“pure identity status types”. As suggested in thepreceding chapter, the “pure” types represent thoseindividuals who scored greater than one standard deviationabove the mean in only one identity status category on the84EOMEIS-2, and are the only scores of interest in thecurrent investigation. So, individuals whose scoresclassified them as “transition types” (they scored greaterthan one standard deviation above the mean in more thanone identity status category), or “low profile moratoriumtypes” (they scored less than one standard deviation abovethe mean in all identity status categories) were notcontacted for an interview. Frequencies of classifiedsubjects for each of the four identity status categories,including a breakdown by gender of participant arereported in Table 1.Following the classification of subjects intoidentity status groups according to the categorizationrules and specified means (standard deviations) providedby Adams et al. (1989), a comparison was made between themeans and standard deviations of the scores in thisinvestigation and those generated in the originalvalidation study for the EOMEIS-2. As Table 2 reveals, themeans and standard deviations generated by the originalvalidation study are similar to those generated from thesedata.In the following sections, the narratives of “Nancy”,“Tricia”, “Trevor”, “Brad”, “Alison”, “Angela”, “Sara”,“Colleen”, “Julia”, “Meagan”, and “Anne” are described.Structural AnalysisA structural analysis of completed narratives was85Table 1.Distribution of Identity Status Scores on the EOMEIS-2Classification Males FemalesIdentity Achieved 3 7Moratorium 2 3Foreclosed 0 1Identity Diffused 4 4Low Profile Moratorium 11 6Transitional Status 0 6TOTALS 20 27Table 2Means and Standard Deviations for Identity Status ScalesIdentity status scale Mean SDI. Present studyAchievement 67. 6 7. 3Moratorium 54.1 8.3Foreclosure 41.3 9.2Diffusion 44.7 8.7II. Original studyAchievement 65.5 8.3Moratorium 52.5 9,9Foreclosure 43.5 10.3Diffusion 43.2 9.386undertaken for the purposes of more fully understandinghow young people construct stories of their livesaccounting for the experience of parental influence, andalso to observe whether commonalities in structure existbetween participants sharing the same identity status.Three narrative types were identified based on theanalysis of 11 transcribed interviews. The analysis itselfwas based on a procedure delineated by Alexander (1988) inwhich critical incidents are reduced using sequence,outcome, and affect categories. The resulting threenarrative types presented here are all variants of one ofGergen and Gergen’s (1986) rudimentary narrative types,the progressive type, meaning that all participantsrecounted critical incidents with their parents that wereseen as instrumental in the participants’ own movementtoward career goals. Thus, none of the 11 narrativespresented here represent either regressive or stablenarrative types (Gergen & Gergen, 1986). The resultingnarrative types are also strongly representative of threeof five narrative types proposed by Young et al. (inpress), in their analysis of narratives of perceivedparental influence [Young et al. (in press) also definedtheir narrative types as variants of those proposed byGergen & Gergen, (1986)]. Because of this similarity, thetype categories developed by Young et al. (in press) willbe used here to describe the narrative structures found in87this study. It should be noted that examples of the tworegressive narrative types discovered by Young et al., (inpress), the anticipated regressive narrative and the sadnarrative, were not evident in the narratives gathered inthis study. This discrepancy might be explained by thesubject sample used in the current investigation. In otherwords, the fact that all participants in this study wereenroled in a post secondary institution at the time oftheir interview may suggest that they were alreadyinvolved in a process of moving toward personal careergoals and would therefore be likely to express confidencein reaching these goals. Thus, the narrative generated byeach participant at this point in his or her life would belikely to be progressive.Using the categories outlined by Young et al. (inpress), the three narrative types found here are describedas 1) progressive narrative with negatively evaluatedstages, 2) progressive narrative with a dramatic turningpoint, and 3) progressive narrative within a positiveevaluation frame. Of the 11 interviews, eight areclassified as type 1 narratives, one as a type 2narrative, and two as type 3 narratives.The figures that accompany each narrative typeindicate that narratives are plotted on two dimensions:evaluation of the possibility of attaining life goals, andtime. The solid line illustrates the narrative from the88time each participant chose to begin his or her life storyto the time of the interview. The anticipation of futuregoals is illustrated by a broken line.Type 1. The Progressive Narrative With NegativelyEvaluated StagesAs suggested by Young et al. (in press), in thisnarrative type, the individual realizes a valued career orlife outcome despite parental influence (see Figure 1).Incidents describing parental influence tend to be bothpositively and negatively evaluated, and often relationswith one or both parents are strained (described ascurrently or previously a “struggle”). In thesenarratives, the transmission of certain parental values isoften experienced by the young person as restricting,limiting, and not trusting of the young person’s abilityto manage their own life. Consequently, parental valuesand expectations are often discarded. These themes aredepicted in a time line in which incidents with parentsare both negatively and positively evaluated, but in time,parental behaviours are judged to be less facilitative,and in some cases inhibiting of the young person’smovement towards his or her career goals. The strugglewith parents, however, is eventually overcome, and theyoung person feels free to pursue career goals despiteparental influence.In one example, a young woman describes her struggles89FIGURE lProgressive Narrative with Negatively Evaluated Stages+U)U)LU U)U--!L)QLI—ooTIME >evaluation to the present- anticipation of futureNOTE. From ‘Narrative Structure and Parental Influence onCareer Development”. By R.A. Young, J.D. Friesen, & B.Borycki (in press). Journal of Adolescence.90against maternal values and a perceived lack of emotionalsupport from her mother during her childhood andadolescence. The results of initially recalled eventstended to produce negative affect and led to feelings ofbeing misunderstood and pressured. She describes hermother’s traditional values about the role of women,“...she believes in fulfilling social roles as a wife.She’s from the old country, where you get your husbanda drink-—being a good wife.”She details her own rejection of this value bysuggesting, “I think it’s backlashed me. It’s made me morefeminist in a sense.”She perceives that the lack of emotional support fromher mother, has had a big impact on her life:She gave me practical protection but not emotional.And I think that has affected me a lot. If I had beengiven more emotional support back then, I probablywouldn’t be having problems now.Despite the perceived “strained” relationship withher mother, this young woman has developed a strong senseof her own values and life goals:• . . to be a teacher and get married and have afamily. . . to have good relationships with otherpeople.. .to be in a job I’m happy with, and not adead—end job, even if it’s a job that’s in school.And just be at--when you get up in the morning you91feel good. You don’t have so much stress.Through adopting such goals, she seems to have optedout of the lifestyle that her mother values, which isdescribed as, “...to have a nice home and be financiallysecure, I guess. Also to fit the role, be a good mother, agood woman——appearances.”This young woman recognizes that she has acceptedsome of her mother’s values and rejected others. Hervalue, “to be happy”, and her love for children, forexample, she asserts, did not come from her mother. Sheexplains, “. . .education was a big thing in my family, butdefinitely not kids. I don’t know why I started to likekids so much because my mom hates kids.” Similarly, shementions, “She didn’t influence me in the ‘be happy part’,she’s more, ‘Take what you can get it doesn’t matter ifyou’re unhappy.’.”Despite the fact that incidents involving her mothertended to produce negative affect in the past, these sameincidents are re—evaluated as positive in the present.Although her mother’s attempt to mould her daughter into atraditional woman’s “role” was rebelled against in thepast, for example, this young woman now sees her resultingfeminist ideology as positive. In another incident, shefelt “pressured” and “preached to” by her mother withregards to her pursuing post—secondary education, however,she again re—evaluates this influence as positive. This92positive re—evaluation is indicated when she suggests, “Iguess she did it pretty good, because now I always say,‘Oh, education...’——just saying how important it is.”Despite the influence of her mother in this aspect ofher life, she asserts that the decision to enter collegewas definitely her own. She states, “I’m glad I’m going toschool, but it was my decision to come.”In this narrative, there is a strong identificationwith the parent who is not involved in the struggle. Inthis case the young woman identifies with her father, whohas lived in another city throughout most of her life. Incontrast to those incidents involving her mother, thoseinvolving her father produced positive affect in the pastand are evaluated positively in the present. Incidentsinvolving her father tended to produce feelings of beingsupported, validated, and understood. She recognizes thatemotional support from her father helped her to overcome atraumatic childhood incident that her mother attempted toignore.Overall she sees herself as having accepted someparental values and rebelled against others. Despite herpoor relationship with her mother, she suggests that shehas grown to accept her mother’s positive and negativequalities when she states, “It’s been pretty strainedbecause we’ve been having a lot of huge fights. . .we’vegotten closer again, and I’ve just had to accept that93she’s so unemotional, you know...”She feels good about the decisions she’s made andstrongly believes that she will reach the goals she hasset out for herself, “. . .1 know I will. I can’t imaginemyself doing something else.”In another example of this type, a young man’sinitiatives are judged harshly by his parents because theydon’t meet with parental expectations. He thus perceiveslittle parental support for his goals and retrospectivelyevaluates parental influence negatively. The majority ofrecalled incidents by this participant are evaluatednegatively and contain negative affect. However, theperceived pressure from his parents eventually leads torebellion, and he begins to make his own decisions abouthis life despite parental influence.The struggle in this person’s narrative is one ofindependence from parents, especially mother. He has aclear definition of failure from his parents’ points ofview, which he believes involves ending up like hiseducated but unemployed older brother. He thus evaluatessome of his own past decisions based on parental approvalof those made by his brother:• . .my mom worries a lot about my brother. And that’spart of the reason I don’t want to--why it was kindof a shock for me to do bad last year. I didn’t wantto end up like him. I kept thinking like that! And94that’s my worst fear...He perceives his mother as having set high standardsfor his performance. He states, “She’s very quick to saysomething if I’m doing something wrong.”He sees himself as currently trying to sort out hisown life and make his own decisions. He suggests, “I’mtrying to figure out what the rest of my life means tome.”However, he recognizes that he is used to measuringhis own success in relation to his brother and sister’saccomplishments, which are rooted in fulfilling parentalexpectations:Well, my brother and sister got really good grades,and I found myself trying to keep up to them, matchthem step for step. . . even though I got a scholarship,it was $2,500., my sister got 10,000., so maybe I wasthinking that my parents would respect me more...The struggle with perceived parental pressure andparental expectations eventually results in a verbalconfrontation with the young man’s mother:.my mom also wants me to finish school as soon aspossible--that’s why she wanted me to get all of mycourses right away, do this, this, and that. . . Eventhough I’m still, like, I don’t know what I’m doingstill——I don’t know what I want, and she’s rushing meinto getting a job, right, and I don’t want to do95that. . .1 guess I was just getting fed up with all ofher pressure . I just kind of blew up one day andsaid that I would move out of the house if that’swhat she wanted.Overall, he describes parental influence as an“uphill fight” and sees his parents as having adverselyaffected his attempts to create goals for himself:They probably added stress, I would think. They seemto be making me more nervous about what I’m going tobe doing and stuff. Right now, the last two semestershere, like, I have to get good grades, or else I’mfinished!Nonetheless, over time, the young man’s recalledincidents indicate increased independent thinking andresponsibility for his own life. He sees himself as havingrebelled against his mother’s desire for him to find workquickly, and recognizes that recent decisions he has madehave been for himself, and not to please his parents.Although his goals are uncertain, he is confident thateventually this will change; he is maintaining a positiveoutlook on his life.Type 2. Progressive Narrative With a Dramatic TurningPointAs described by Young et al. (in press), in thesenarratives there is a crucial turning point in which theyoung person is able to change the outcome of the life96+Cr)C’,LU0<o0H-..(ThUJFIGURE 2Progressive Narrative with a Dramatic Turning PointTIME >evaluation to the present- anticipation of futureNOTE. From “Narrative Structure and Parental nfIuence onCareer Development”. By R.A. Young, J.D. Friesen, & B.Borycki (in press), Journal of Adolescence.97story from failure to success (see Figure 2). Initially,this person’s life experiences are evaluated negativelydue to poor or abusive parenting. Following a dramaticclimax, a turning point, however, the young person is ableto reconceptualize life as hopeful: Goals are identified,and the experience of poor parenting is overcome.The following example of a progressive narrative witha dramatic turning point illustrates a daughter’s life asa struggle against the inconsistent, verbally abusiveparenting provided by her mother. She lived alone with hermother until she was 16 years old, and describes hermother during this time as a naive woman who was moreconcerned about her own appearance and acceptance by peersthan her own family. In this narrative, experiences withher mother tended to produce negative affect and were alsoevaluated negatively by the young woman.Initially recalled incidents involve her mother’sattempts to enforce rules and the young woman’s ownrebellion early on in life:Sometimes I didn’t really care what my mom thoughtbecause I thought she was really naive. . .1 started towear make—up long before she would have allowed me toand then once I was allowed to, I never wore it!She describes her own feelings about her mother’srules and expectations:They were confusing and they made me98rebellious. . . Some days I had rules and some days Ididn’t, and the days I did have rules were the days Iwanted to break them all. I don’t think my mom reallyknew what she was doing. . . so I would follow themsometimes and other times I wouldn’t. It was like, ifyou’re going to enforce a rule, be there to enforceit or don’t even try!Inconsistency in parenting resulting from hermother’s frequent absences from the home adverselyaffected the intimacy and communication in theirrelationship:With my mom it made me more distant from her. Ididn’t tell her as many things, which by the end ofthe time I was living with her, I probably wasn’ttelling her anything. She was very irrational in herdecisions——sometimes something would be okay and thenext day it wouldn’t be...it was like I was beingpushed to be an individual but at the same time Iwasn’t allowed to be. I wasn’t allowed to express mydecisions.Constant movement throughout the lower mainland dueto her mother’s shifting occupations also limited thepossibility of her developing close friendships:• . . in 12 years I went to 10 schools. . .the thing Iregret now is that I never really had any closefriends.. .I’ve always wanted to have just a single99group of friends that I’ve always just had. Peoplethat you could share memories with and stuff.Although the young woman asserts that herrelationship with her mother has always been distant, shedescribes its progressive deterioration up until shereached 16 years of age, at which time she ran away fromhome:She was always yelling and screaming at me——I justcouldn’t do anything right. So I left because Icouldn’t handle it. It felt like verbal abuse that Iwas getting from her. And her new husband, I don’tthink really liked me.This young woman’s confidence and self esteem wasundermined by her mother’s inability to provide consistentparenting for her daughter. She has therefore lived herlife believing that she was never wanted by her mother--that her mother had never really desired to have a familyat all:.She had a child too young. She lived a verysheltered life. . . She didn’t start living until shewas 21 and unfortunately that’s when she had just hadme. I think she was trying to grow up and be a parentat the same time.Running away and eventually living with her fatherserved as a turning point for this young woman. Shestates, “. . .1 felt I finally had something stable to look100forward to. I was getting tired of moving around.. .mygrades went down because I couldn’t handle it.”The narrative takes a turn for the positive and shebecomes able to shift the metaphor of her life to successthrough the identification of goals for herself. Sheexplains, “I realized I had things I wanted to do now. Iwanted to graduate for one.”However, she acknowledges that other struggles stillremain by suggesting, “It’s just a matter of figuring outwhat’ s right for me...”Despite these negatively evaluated experiences withher mother, this young woman is learning to accept herpast and move on with her life:Well, we never had a close relationship, my mom andI. To me she’s always been very cold. She’s not aneasy person to warm up to. And so now I’m stoppingusing up my energy to please her and starting to dothings to please myself. It’s taken me a long time tofigure that one out.She has decided not to be like her mother, “I hopethat I’ll be more stable than my mom was. I want to have afamily, whereas that’s not what she ever reallywanted...she didn’t ignore me but she wasn’t around alot.”It is her father’s support that gives her motivation:I always knew I had a place there...It (moving in101with her father) made us closer. . .1 talk to my dadabout my goals and he’s happy about them. My dadlistens to what I have to say and asks me questionsthat make me think...With support from her father and her friends, alongwith her newfound will to succeed, she’s hopeful ofreaching her goals.Type 3. Progressive Narrative Within a Positive EvaluationFrameA third type of narrative, as outlined by Young etal. (in press), involves a progression towards life goalsthrough accommodation of the young person to the parents’influence (see Figure 3). There is an explicit lack ofrebellion in these narratives. The parents and theirvalues and way of life are seen as appropriate, and areoften idealized. Parental influence is seen as positive inthe incidents recounted, and there is a positiveevaluation of their career and life direction.An example of this type of narrative is provided by ayoung woman who is in school preparing to become a frenchteacher, a career move she has not questioned since shemade the decision in childhood. She lives at home with hermother and two younger sisters. Her own values stem from apositive family environment:I think family is very important. I’ve been veryclose with my mom and my sisters. It’s very important102FIGURE 3Progressive Narrative within a Positively Evaluated Frame+U)C’)Cl)TIMEevaluation to the present- anticipation of futureNOTE. From “Narrative Structure and Parental Influence onCareer Development”. By R.A. Young, J.D Friesen, & B.Borycki (in press). Journal of Adolescence.103in life. It makes you happy. . . Just doing the thingsthat make you happy. Work--Put work in with familyand--just anything that makes you happy.She describes many of her mother’s values as beingsimilar to her own:She has a hard time trusting people, just likeme. . .We’re very emotional people.. .She actually talksto me all the time about trust and relationships,just cause we’re more like sisters thanmother/daughter.Incidents in this narrative are largely concernedwith activities with her mother that produced feelings ofbeing supported and encouraged. She feels very accepted inher home and perceives no imposing parental expectationswith regard to how she should live her life. She explains,“They’ve just always said, ‘Do your best’, and ‘Be happyin life’.”As a result she did not rebel against her mother’sparenting. She states, “I’ve pretty much gone along withwhat my parents wanted for me. I haven’t rebelled much inmy life. I’ve been a good child.”She learns about life from her mother’s experienceswith relationships, work, and family of origin, anddemonstrates an awareness of her mother’s difficult life:The things she has confided in me have made me prettysceptical about relationships. She hasn’t had any104very decent relationships in her life...But shesshappy in her job, that I’ve picked up on.. .Seeing herwith her family, I’ve realized how wonderful it is-It’s very important to me now.She also takes on the role of parenting her twoyounger sisters when their mother isn’t home. This isindicated through her stating, “They like me being asister, but you have to show some guidance, cause whenmom’s not there...”On the whole, this young woman feels her mother isvery supportive of the goals she has set for herself, andcontinues to talk to her about them. Due to her strongdesire to accomplish her goals, she is very confident shewill, indeed, reach them.A second example of the progressive narrative withina positive evaluation frame is provided by a young man whois currently taking classes at the college level, but hasdecided to leave the school system and pursue a career asa swimmer or swim coach. He swam competitively for nineyears, but had to leave the sport due to injury. Taking onthe attitude, “If you’re going to die, die being happy.”,he has decided to attempt swimming as a career once again.The young man describes past parental support withregards to his swimming career:They were always there. If I had to go to a meet,they had the money for it and we were there. They105would find the money. Always there, always. It was mydad getting me up for practice, not me...Ny parentswere very committed.In this narrative, all seven incidents are evaluatedpositively, and with one exception, are associated withpositive affect. The majority of incidents are associatedwith family activities that led to the young man’s feelingsupported, encouraged, and accepted. The one exceptioninvolves this person’s confronting his parents about theirdecision not to put him into hockey when he was younger.However, he states an acceptance of their decision:I regret not being put into hockey, and I’ve toldthem that, but at the time they didn’t think it wasthe right thing to do. . .A lot of kids were bulliesthen and my character then just wouldn’t have fit. . .1know where my parents are coming from.The incident is re-evaluated in terms that thedecision was probably for the best. He states, “If I hadtried hockey, I might not have swam, and I wouldn’t bewhere I am today.”His parents are both described as “family—oriented”,and “supportive” of his decisions. His relationships witheach have “always been good”, and his family environment,“excellent”. As a result, he has never rebelled:And usually just with the respect I have for myparents, I’ve usually gone along with what they’ve106thought is right. You think about it, and it’s like,‘They’re right, they know what they’re talkingabout’.There is no evidence of a struggle against parentalvalues and goals. He has accepted the values of openness,honesty, and family support as important in his own life,and seems to take on a parental role in communicatingthese to his younger sister:They just kinda said, ‘What you do in your own timeis what you do, just be careful, and don’t doanything in excess.’. I’m the same with my sister.I’d rather know what she’s getting (referring toobtaining alcohol) by getting it through me thangetting it through someone else.He recognizes that his parents still have a greatdeal of influence on him. He is in school because of hisparents’ wishes, even though he realizes he’s notmotivated to continue, and in this respect he feels he hasdisappointed them. On the whole, however, he feels theyare happy with the decisions he has made with his life.Analysis of the Relationship Between NarrativeStructure and Identity StatusBringing in identity status results from scores onthe EOMEIS-2, the 11 interviews are classified as follows:Six are representative of the Achieved identity status,three of the Moratorium status and two of the Diffused107identity status. None of the 11 participants wasrepresentative of Identity Foreclosure. With regard tonarrative structure, all six narratives of the IdentityAchieved participants are classifiable as type 1narratives, or progressive narratives with negativelyevaluated stages. Of the three narratives of Moratoriumstatus individuals, two are classified as type 1, and oneof type 2, or the progressive narrative with a dramaticturning point. The two narratives of Identity Diffuseparticipants are classified as type 3, or progressivenarratives within positive evaluation frames.A chi square correlation revealed a relation betweenidentity status categories and narrative types, X (1, N =11) = 2.81, p < .10. This test was chosen because thehypothesis under test concerns a comparison of observedand expected frequencies in discrete categories. It isimportant to note, however, that performing such astatistical analysis on a small sample size (in this case11) required making two corrective measures before chisquare could be applied. Due to low expected frequenciesin the original 3 x 3 table (frequencies were less thanfive in five of six cells), for example, two neighbouringrows and columns were combined. Because of the similarityin narrative structure of the identity achieved andmoratorium participants, these two columns were combined.The numbers of narrative types 2 and 3 were also combined,108thus creating a 2 x 2 table. A second adjustment to thedata involved applying the Yates Correction forContinuity, which consisted of reducing by .5 eachobtained frequency that was greater than the associatedexpected frequency, and increasing by the same amount eachfrequency that was less than expected. This correction isapplied to a problem with one degree of freedom, and whenany individual cell frequencies are less than 10. Takinginto account these corrections, the resulting chi squarepoints toward a significant difference between the groups,and thus a relation between identity status category andnarrative type. It should be noted that cM square wasapplied in this instance on an exploratory basis withregard to further assessing the nature of the relationshipbetween narrative structure and identity status. Thus, analpha level was not predetermined. The relationshipbetween the variables under study was therefore determinedto be significant at the, p < .10 level. It seems likelythat the level of significance has been influenced by thenecessary combining of independent categories due to thesmall sample size, and that with a larger sample size, thestrength of the relationship as indicated by chi squarewould become more evident.Distinct patterns of themes associated with narrativestructure were also observed that propose a relationshipbetween ego identity status and narratives of perceived109parental influence on career development. This findingthen, supports the statistical result described above,suggesting that young adults at different stages ofidentity formation tell stories of perceived parentalinfluence differently.While the narratives of participants who wereclassified as either Identity Achieved or Moratoriumstatuses tended to share the same narrative structure, afew subtle differences were apparent. For example, the sixparticipants classified as Identity Achieved universallyspoke about struggles or conflicts with parents asoccurring in the past. Relationships with one or bothparents may have remained “strained” into the present,however, the participant speaks of having “come to accept”value differences with the parent(s) in question. Theyindicate having completely overcome their struggle withparental influence and are well on their way to achievingtheir goals.In the narratives of identity achieved participants,there is a clear sense of awareness of personal values andgoals, and the process through which personal goals willbe reached is detailed. The two participants classified asin Moratorium status, and whose narratives were alsoprogressive narratives with positively and negativelyevaluated stages, however, suggest that they have onlyrecently begun the process of separating themselves from110parental influences. While they recognize their growingindividuality, the process is not complete. In otherwords, the struggle with parents has not been completelyovercome, and the “acceptance” of value differences thatis indicated in the narratives of the Identity Achievedparticipants has not been reached. They have begun toclarify personal values and goals, however, they remainvague and/or uncertain (however, each individual expressesconfidence that goals will eventually be clarified).Similarly, the young woman classified as in Moratoriumstatus, but whose narrative structure is identified astype two, or progressive with a dramatic turning point,indicates that the “turning point” in her life duringwhich she began to break free from parental influence hasbeen recent (within the past year). Further, she is onlybeginning to set career goals, for herself, rather than toplease her mother.The narrative structure that identifies the storiestold by the two participants classified as IdentityDiffuse represents an unexpected finding. Progressivenarratives within positive evaluation frames would seemmore typical of individuals classified as IdentityForeclosed. This would seem likely due to the apparentacceptance of parental values without question (orconflict) in these narratives. In addition, these twoparticipants also speak of having identified career goals111early in life without question (indicating commitment tocareer goals). Nonetheless, these two narratives arehighly similar in structure. They differ from the othernarratives in that there is an explicit lack of rebellionagainst parental values and goals. Relationships withparents are described as always having been positive andsupportive. Experiences with parents are evaluatedsimilarly (positive and supportive) in these narratives,unlike the other narrative types in which struggles orconflicts with parents are identified and described.In summary, the results of the structural andstatistical analyses provided here indicate a relationbetween identity status and narrative structure withregard to the experience of parental influence on careerdevelopment. The third section of this chapter isconcerned with detailing the results of a phenomenologicalanalysis that was performed on the data as an attempt toillustrate some of the themes noted above.Phenomenological AnalysisDuring the structural analysis, interview transcriptswere categorized according to their narrative structure,or in other words, according to how each intervieweeexperienced the influence of their parents in relation tothe interviewees’ own movement towards their life goals.The purpose of the phenomenological analysis was toexplore in greater depth, themes associated with the112experience of parental influence on career development. Assuch, this analysis provides a method of techniquetriangulation to increase the strength of the validity ofthe structural analysis and the themes found therein.Patterns of themes observed in the narratives of thoseindividuals sharing the same identity status were alsoinvestigated.Giorgi (1975) suggests that the task of thephenomenological researcher is to:let the world of the describer, or more concretelythe situation as it exists for the subject, revealitself throughout the descriptions in an unbiasedway. Thus it is the situation as it exists for thesubject that descriptions yield. (p. 74)He thus describes the process of phenomenology as,“...dealing with the perceptions and thoughts of man. Itis this reflexive or self—referential movement thatphenomenology tries to comprehend.” (p. 79) Following thisposition, the analysis of interview protocols, as providedin this section, is sensitive to the participants’ owninterpretations of their situations and of their own ideasconcerning the experience of parental influence on theircareer development.With regard to potential biases of the researcher,phenomenology accepts them as a integral part of theresearch; the objectivity in terms of what his/her113experience of what is being observed (Agnew & Brown,1989). As suggested by Schroeder (1987),There is no process of enlightenment, discipline, orpurification by virtue of which the critical thinkercan escape all bias, since to escape these wouldamount to an escape from one’s own position in theworld. (p. 65)Nonetheless, in attempt to minimize potential bias, theresearcher adhered specifically to the words of theparticipants in extracting themes throughout the analysis.To explore the experience of parental influence oncareer development, “meaning units” (Giorgi, 1975) werefirst identified. In other words, after reading the entiretranscript through to get a sense of the whole, theresearcher re—read the transcript delineating each timethat a transition in meaning was perceived with respect tothe intention of discovering the meaning of parentalinfluence. The resulting meaning units from alltranscripts were then related to each other and to thesense of the whole, to discover themes relating to whatthe meaning units reveal about the experience of parentalinfluence on career development. In short, the data wereasked the following question: “What does this statement orgroup of statements tell me about the experience ofparental influence on career development?” In all, 14themes emerged from the analysis of the interview114protocols. The list of themes was then synthesized into aconsistent description of the experience of parentalinfluence on career development.Building on the earlier note about attempts tominimize researcher bias, during the delineation ofmeaning units and the identification of themes, theresearcher adhered specifically to the words of theparticipants in their narratives in attempt to avoidbiasing the results of this investigation based on theresearchers own experiences of parental influence. So, forexample, an experience involving parental support was notidentified as such by the researcher unless theparticipant him/herself did so in his or her narrative.The subtlety of parental influence, another experiencedtheme, was similarly not identified unless a participantused the word “subtle” in describing an experience ofparental influence.An Examination of ThemesThe following is a list of the 14 themes. Someoverlap in content, thus they appear to be very closelylinked. For example, the themes “parental support” and“communication” seem to be linked in such a way thatparticipants who experienced their parent(s) asencouraging of open communication with their childrentended to also experience their parents as “supportive” inthe incidents recalled. These themes are separated,115however, because “parental support” is also experienced inother ways by individual participants. Similarly, theexperience of “parental transmission of values” overlapswith the experience of feeling “pressure” from parentswhen the transmission of a particular value is experiencedby the participants as an expectation of the parents’.These two themes are separated because the transmission ofparental values is not experienced negatively by allparticipants in all incidents. A detailed description ofthese themes and their structure is presented followingthe list of themes. The 14 themes associated with theexperience of parental influence on career developmenthave been identified as:1. Parental Influence is Subtle2. Parental Support3. Parental Lack of Support4. Communication5. Parental Transmission of Values6. Pressure7. Parents Want What’s Best For Their Children8. Autonomy is Necessary For Growth9. Participants Understand Their Parents’ Pointsof View10. Personal Learning From a Parent’s LifeExperiences11. Parent/Child Relationships Change Over Time11612. Commitment13. Confidence in Success14. Personal Responsibility For SuccessIn short, few of the 14 themes described above areconsistently evident throughout all 11 narratives.Nonetheless, the majority of the complete set ofnarratives do exhibit some variant of the noted themes. Itwill be suggested in the following detailed description ofthemes, that some of the inconsistencies in the occurrenceof themes might be accounted for by variance in identitystatus.A Detailed Description of ThemesThe 14 most consistently evident themes in the 11narratives are recounted here in greater detail. In otherwords, the following represent the only themes that werefound in at least six of the eleven narratives. Specificstatements from the interview protocols are provided toillustrate individual themes (for the purpose ofmaintaining confidentiality of participants, pseudonymsreplace true names). As suggested earlier with regard tothe results from the structural analysis, although arestricted sample size limits suggested correlationsbetween themes relating to the experience of parentalinfluence on career development and identity status scalescores, observational associations between the twovariables are noted. In order to address the possibility117that “the most consistently evident themes” do not takeinto account themes unique to the Identity Diffusion andMoratorium statuses (because of the small number ofparticipants representing each status), interviewprotocols were again re—read in order to identifyadditional possible themes that would highlight identitystatus differences. No new themes were found.Parental influence is subtle.In the majority of narratives, parental influence isdescribed by the participants as “subtle”. In other words,participants suggest that retrospectively they are awareof the influence of their parents on their lives, however,that at the time this influence went unnoticed. Trevor,for example, explains, “They never said they specificallywanted me to be anything, but they subtly reinforcedcertain occupations and not others.”Meagan describes her experience with parentalinfluence in a similar way:Well, they’ve always given me choices, but they’vealso tried to show me which was the best one bymaking the light shine on which one they thought wasthe better choice to make. It was all pretty subtle,but I see it now.Brad speaks of the subtlety of parental influence ina more general way, suggesting that, “Both have been veryinfluential in my life. In a general sense I know they’ve118influenced me, and I don’t really know how, but it’sthere.. .very subtle.”Julia speaks of the influence of her mother withregard to her deciding whether or not to pursue post—secondary education:She was really subtle...she would tell me storiesthat had hidden meaning in them. Like when I askedfor pictures of me as a baby, it was like, ‘Oh, Ididn’t have a camera because I didn’t go touniversity when I was young! ‘...just reallysubtle. . .not lecturing at all.Like Julia’s experience, the subtlety of parentalinfluence was indicated by most participants with regardto the decision to enter college. Colleen, for example,asserts, “I always knew I had to go to university, becauseeducation was a big thing in my family. It hasn’t beenanything that they’ve said, I’ve just always knownthat.”Trevor also suggests that while growing up he alwaysfelt that there was an “unwritten rule” in his family thateveryone should attend university. Other participantsprovide very similar examples of the subtlety of theirparents, especially where education has been concerned.Parental suprort.Parental support is one theme that pervades allnarratives. A broad theme, it covers several different119types of support, however, all converge on the idea thatparental support is considered instrumental in thedevelopment and pursuit of career goals. The experience ofreceiving parental support for the young person’s abilityto make independent decisions, for example, tended toenhance the young person’s confidence and motivation inworking toward career goals.All participants describe at least one of theirparents or primary caregivers as supportive of theparticipants’ ability to make independent decisions.Colleen, for example, asserts, “My mother was very happyto let us make our own decisions.”Meagan suggests, “They have always let me make thechoices.”Tricia explains of her mother, “She left a lot ofdecisions up to me.”Similarly, Angela speaks of her parents as,“...really people that, as long as I’m happy with what I’mdoing, and as long as it’s reasonable and responsible,they let me make my own decisions.”Trevor describes a supportive incident involving hisfather:• . .he said I didn’t have to go to school if I didn’twant to, that I could get a job and work for awhileif I wasn’t ready, that it was my choice...so it waseasier to get into full time working instead of120school knowing I had his support.In turn, Trevor experiences this support from hisfather had a motivating effect on his pursuit of lifegoals. He explains, “It was a good thing to hear. . .thepressure to go to school was off and so then I realized Iwanted to get back to school after the summer and keepgoing!”While receiving parental support for independentdecision making was commonly experienced by the majorityof participants, so was the experience of receivingparental support for specific career decisions. Mostparticipants perceived at least some support from theirparents (meaning that at least one recounted criticalincident with one or both parents generated a feeling ofhaving been supported) for their decisions and goals whichwas evaluated as having a positive influence on theircareer development. Angela, for example, explains that “myparents have been really supportive of my career plans.”As a result, she “always felt accepted by them”, “neverworried about school”, and never questioned her ability toreach her goals.Anne felt the support of her grandfather with regardto her decision to enter college. She states, “Mygrandparents are helping me with my education. They’revery supportive, especially my grandfather.”This support generated self-confidence and a sense of121pride in her work. She explains, “I was pretty proud ofmyself because I didn’t think I could do it. . .1 was proudthat I could show him the things that I had done.”Alison suggests that the support from her family hasgiven her confidence that she will reach her goals:They were happy that I was choosing a career andworking at my future.. .that I had found somethingthat I loved. So that’s made me happy with my goals,and so I think I’ll reach them because I want toreach them.For Sara, support, or “positive feedback” from hersister has built her confidence with regard to herrelationship goals. She suggests, “Her support felt good.Cause now I’m confident enough to feel that I know what’sgood and what’s not good.”Nancy describes her feelings about the supportprovided by her father with regard to her educationalgoals, “His support was encouraging. I wanted him to havesomething to be proud of, so it made me work harder.” Inthree narratives, both emotional and financial supportprovided by the parents was perceived as affording theopportunity to pursue certain career goals. In speaking ofsuch support, for example, Meagan suggests:They told me they would support me if I decided to goto school. . .and I think that was a big influence inmy life, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. I don’t122think I would have had the courage to get into a postsecondary institution without their support.With parental support she is therefore confident thatshe will reach her goals. She asserts, “I’m prettyconfident that I’ll reach them, especially with thesupport of my family.”In short, despite the fact that most of these sameparticipants perceived that their relationships with theirparents were “a struggle” a times (described later in thissection), experiences with parents, and parentalbehaviours perceived as supportive, are spoken of asvaluable by the participants in their pursuit of lifegoals. Sara, for example, suggests that she has come torealize “how important family is” despite previousstruggles or conflicts with the sisters that raised herover her career goals. She continues, “Without theirsupport, I could have easily ended up smoking drugs on thestreet, and pregnant.”In speaking of the development of her own life goals,Meagan suggests, “I think that a big difference for me hasalso been having a supportive family.”For Alison, “Family support brings you together as afamily. It makes you happy and positive about the future.”Parental lack of support.While parental support was perceived as having apositive influence on the participant’s development and123pursuit of life goals, perceived lack of support, on theother hand, tended to be perceived as inhibiting ofpersonal growth. As a result, parental lack of support forthe young person’s initiative and independent decisionmaking often created feelings of guilt, resentment, anger,and low self—confidence.The majority of participants perceived some parentallack of support during their lives and experiences withone or both of their parents. Anne describes herexperience with her mother:She’s not really supportive of me.. .like when I wasleaving home she tried to keep me there...and with myeducation, I think she’s jealous because she wantedto go to university and it never worked out. That’swhy she hasn’t been supportive.The result for Anne was a sense of “guilt” about herambitions and her vocational goals. Without the support ofher grandparents, she is unsure whether she would havefelt motivated to further her education.Trevor perceives a lack of parental support for hisdecision to pursue a career in physiotherapy, as this goalwould require seven years of schooling. He is thussceptical about his parents’ reaction if he gets intophysiotherapy school in the future. He suggests, “It’ll bepretty much of a let—down. My mom will say, ‘Oh no! You’regoing to be in school for a couple of more years!124Perceived lack of support for his goals has thusundermined his confidence. He explains, “It’ll be anuphill fight having these external forces working againstme. It would feel good to have their support. .but I’mtrying to keep a positive outlook.”Nancy also feels that her mother’s lack of supportfor her decision to become an engineer affected her self-confidence:She didn’t support my decision because doesn’tbelieve that women can be mechanical. . . so I guess Isort of had doubts about whether I was mechanical ornot. It kind of confirmed it for me because that wasthe way she saw it.For Sara, lack of support from her father createdanger and resentment towards him:.when I would complain about my job he would say,‘Well you know what you have to do’. And now that I ‘min school, and I’m doing quite well, when I told himwhat I got, he was like, ‘Well, that’s nice.’...itreally bummed me out because I thought he would havebeen supportive!As put forth by Anne in her experience with lack ofparental support (described above), Sara feels thatsupport gained from other caregivers, her sisters, haskept her “on track and working toward her goals” despitethe lack of support she received from her father.125The experience of a lack of parental support for theparticipant’s ability to make independent decisions oftenled to their feeling “restricted” with regard to personalgrowth. Angela, for example, speaks of her mother’s“overconcern” for her:She worries about me too much and it keeps me fromcompletely enjoying the things I want to enjoy. Theygo away a lot and they come back and she says, ‘Oh,you shouldn’t be doing that.’, and I always say,‘It’s amazing how I can manage on my own. How do I doit?’.. .It was a guilt trip, and at the time I feltreally held back by it. I wish they had more supportfor my ability to know what’s best for me. They aregoing to have to let me grow up sometime!Anne perceives a similar feeling with regard to hermother’s “guilt trips”:She sees me doing a lot of things, and I think she’sa bit jealous. So she lays a lot of guilt trips and Ifind them very restricting. It’s been hard for me tofollow through with the things I want to do becauseshe doesn’t provide much support.Tricia describes her experience in the following way:My mom was really naive. So she ended up restrictingme from doing the things that were natural at my age—-she didn’t support the things I wanted to do, likedating and wearing make-up. And feeling restricted126made me rebellious.. .It’s been like I’ve been beingpushed to be an individual, but at the same time Ihaven’t been allowed to be.Communication.The impact of “open” and “closed” communication withparents is discussed by several participants. Where “open”communication exists, relationships with parents areexperienced as “close”. Likewise, where communication withparents is considered “closed”, relationships tend to beexperienced as “distant”.Julia describes her father as valuing, “family,openness, and honesty...he’s guided me the most in myability to talk.” Her relationship with her father is thusdescribed as “supportive” and “close”. Her mother, howeveris described as, “socially inert——she can’t emotionallytalk.” Their relationship is described as “strained”.Angela suggests that her relationships with both hermother and father have “always been close.” With regard totheir ability to communicate, she asserts that “they havealways been easy to talk to.”Meagan describes an incident with her father duringwhich she rebelled against his “harsh rules”. When heencouraged her to talk openly about “what was going on”following this incident, Meagan explains that she felt“supported” and “listened to.” She goes on to suggest thatbeing able to communicate with her parents has been a127positive influence in her life:Definitely having close family ties, and being ableto just talk things out when there was a problem. Ithink that was really influential. It held our familytogether. Just being an open and honest family helpeda lot.Brad describes his relationships with both parents as“excellent”. He suggests that this has largely to do withhis parents’ support of open communication:They’re just really open. Always open. . .because mydad, if something is bothering him, he’ll tell me. IfI’m doing something wrong, he lets it out. Same withmy mom. And they’ve always encouraged us to be openwith them as well.Alison also describes her relationship with hermother as “close” and “supportive”. Elaborating on thisexperience, she suggests, “We talk openly all the timeabout trust and relationships and stuff like that.. .“Anne perceives that her mother’s “inability” tocommunicate has strained their relationship:Well, it’s kind of interesting because she has oftenexpected me to just know the things she wanted done,and it was sort of like I had to read her mind. Shedoesn’t communicate very well. She doesn’t listen.She hears well when she wants to listen, but when shedoesn’t want to listen, forget it. That caused a lot128of fights right there.Poor communication, in this case, eventually leads torebellion:We didn’t have good communication. She was a singlemother and so she yelled at me a lot to get it out--her anger and frustration, and I had to take it all.And when I stopped wanting to take it was when Istarted yelling back.Through her experiences with her mother, Anne haslearned of the importance of open communication, and hastherefore incorporated this value into her family goals:Yelling isn’t good. Communication is very important.I’ve decided that I want a very strong, very lovingfamily because growing up——even now I can’t touch mymother, because we grew so far apart because shenever hugged or kissed me like a parent would. . .1want to have a very affectionate family, one thatcommunicates before they get to the stage of yelling.Parental transmission of values.All participants experienced their parents as havingtried to encourage particular interests, values, and/orgoals in the participants’ lives. In turn, this experienceeither led to the participants’ rejecting the particularinterest, value, or goal in question, or their acceptingit as important in their lives. It should be noted thatwhile the encouragement of particular values and goals by129one’s parents was experienced by all participants, theperception that this encouragement reflected parentalexpectations was not. Parental expectations will bediscussed in an ensuing section.Tricia describes her father’s strong work ethic, andhis encouragement of this particular value:He’s always been a really hard worker, and the beliefhe’s always tried to encourage in us is that itdoesn’t matter what we do as long as we do it at ourbest possible effort.. . as long as we like our job andwe do it well.She comes to incorporate this value into her ownlife. She states, “. . .and I’ve been a hard worker eversince I can remember.”Nancy, on the other hand, describes her father’sencouragement of her pursuing marriage and family goalsrather than focusing on educational and vocational goals.This encouragement reflects a goal that she eventuallyrejects:My dad felt that life didn’t begin until you hadchildren. He would always try to encourage me toleave school and have a family by always pointingfingers at older, unmarried women, and he would say,‘You know if women spend all of the time in schoolthey don’t have kids and then they regret itlater’.. .but I think I can do both, and I want to130have the education...Alison describes her own acceptance of her mother’semphasis on the importance of family support, “My parentshave always encouraged having family support, especiallymy mom. . . I ‘ye realized how important family can be. It’svery important to me now.”She also speaks of her mother’s “constant reminders”about happiness, “My mom always encouraged happiness. Shealways said, ‘Be happy in life.”In speaking of her own career goals, Alisonidentifies the values that are important to her, whichinclude this value encouraged by her mother, “I want tohave a fulfilling life.. .1 think it’s important to do thethings that make you happy. Put work in with family and--just anything that makes you happy.”In outlining the influences in her life with regardto her educational goals, Anne states, “My grandparentsalways encouraged education, especially my grandfather. Itwas very important to him.”Similarly, Sara describes the influence of the sisterthat raised her, “She had a really big influence on me,and she is really concerned about being successful inlife, and she tried to encourage school as an importantgoal for me as I was growing up.”Although this goal is initially rejected by Sara inher early career development, she has come to accept it as131an important step in reaching her goal of becoming ateacher.Colleen also speaks of her mother’s encouragement ofeducational goals. She explains, “She tried to encourageeducation as important for my future. She was the kind ofperson who taught me how to go through the universitycalendars.” Such goals were initially rejected by Colleenupon completion of high school, however were incorporatedinto her life four years later.Julia speaks of her mother’s attempts to influenceher sex role values. She states, “She tried to encouragekind of. . .fulfilling social roles as a wife. She’s fromthe old country, where you get your husband a drink--beinga good wife, I guess.” She describes her own rejection ofthis value, “I think it’s backlashed me. It’s made me morefeminist in a sense.”Angela explains how she feels her mother’sencouragement of “helping” has played a part in thedevelopment of her career goals:My mom’s the nurturing one. She taught me how to beloving and caring. She always encouraged being therefor friends. And so I’m always there foreveryone.. .my mom was always that type of persontoo——volunteering and always being there——a helpingperson. So since I grew up with that encouragement, Ifeel I have something to give back to others. And132going onto nursing, you’re giving your care toothers. I have something to give other people thatare less fortunate than me.Pressure.Parental transmissions of particular values and goalswere occasionally viewed by participants as“expectations”, or in other words, values and goals thatwere not to be questioned. Because these expectations wereoften contrary to their own values and/or goals,participants experienced feeling “pressured” to live up tothem. This pressure resulting from a lack of desire, or aperceived inability to live up to parental expectationsoften resulted in rebellion on the part of theparticipants (which in turn often led to verbal conflictsbetween parent and adolescent), undermined self—confidence, and/or created a fear of parentaldisappointment when the participants tried to assertpersonal values and goals that were contrary to parentalexpectations.Colleen describes her experience struggling with herfather’s educational expectations, and her eventualrebellion:I left highschool when I graduated, and in my familyit’s kind of expected that when you finish you go touniversity...My father places a big demand onintellect and achieving higher, so I felt the133pressure. It wasn’t vicious pressure or anything butthere was pressure, and so I rebelled and said, ‘No’.I wasn’t going to go until I was ready to go.In response to a question dealing with how sheperceives her parents feel about the goals she has set forherself, Julia comments, “...My mom expects me to go toUBC next year rather than SFU because it’s a little moreprestigious. I think she thinks I really screwed up lastyear with school and so I don’t know. ..“The experience of pressure has affected her self—confidence. She states, “The pressure to get into only thebest university, well. . .1 wish I hadn’t screwed up lastyear. Then I could have gone straight to UBC. I hope I dobetter this year.”Meagan describes an incident during which sherebelled against her father’s expectations, “My father hadall of these rules that we were kind of pressured tofollow and I just wanted to live my own life.”Her response to this pressure was indicated by thefollowing statements:It made me kind of rebellious. It made me more likelyto do what they didn’t want me to do. I wanted toprove to them that I was capable of taking care ofmyself...When I rebelled, that’s when I began tofollow my own values.Anne describes her dealing with her grandfather’s134expectations about her educational goals, “It’s veryimportant, especially for my grandfather, for me to get aneducation.. .he’s kind of expecting me to go on in biologybecause he strongly believes that we came out of apes andstuff like that.”She goes on to detail her reactions to thisexpectation, which included a fear of disappointing hergrandfather:The pressure made it very difficult for me because Idon’t believe in the idea that we came out of apes. Ibelieve in the religious one. And so I didn’t tellhim that I had to drop out of biology because Icouldn’t handle it. And I hope I don’t have to tellhim because he’d be really disappointed.She describes her reaction to the pressure resultingfrom parental expectations in general as a form of“rebellion”:At first I was very quiet, and went along with it.Then during my teenage years I came out of my shelland kind of rebelled. And I’ve become very strong—willed. If I don’t think it’s the right thing, then Idon’t do it.Colleen speaks of the pressure she felt from thesister that raised her:• . . she is really concerned about being successful inlife, and she pushed that on me as I grew up. . . she135expected us to hang around with the best friends andyou know, princes and princesses, and get the bestjobs and be top rate at everything. She set very highstandards for me that were difficult to achieve.She describes her reaction as a form of rebellion:I just didn’t do it at all, I just didn’t want tohear about it anymore.. .1 think there was somerebellion in there. I finally had to move out here torelax and move around a bit. I could then get myselfinto doing the things I wanted to do, like school,and I enjoy it. And I think that’s because thepressure was lifted off me.Colleen asserts that in looking back on her teenageyears, she sees that the pressure to succeed adverselyaffected her self—esteem:At the time I didn’t feel good about it. I didn’tfeel strong enough to say, “They can think what theywant and feel what they want, but this is how I feelnow.” At the time I was thinking, “God, I have to getthere (to university), but I’m just too dumb to doit!”Trevor suggests that he continues to experienceconsiderable pressure from his mother to finish school asquickly as possible and find a job. The expectation tofind a “quick, secure job”, goes contrary to his owndesire to “make the right career choice”:136She really puts the pressure on...she wants me tofinish school as soon as possible, get all of mycourses right away, do this, this and that...eventhough I don’t know what I’m doing still. I don’tknow what I want!Like Colleen describes in her narrative, Trevorperceives the pressure from his parents as having affectedhis self—confidence. He suggests, “They’ve added stress, Iwould think. They seem to be making me more nervous aboutwhat I’m going to be doing and stuff. It’s like do-or-dietime!”Tricia also describes her struggle with theexpectations of her mother, “She expected things to bedone a certain way, and I just couldn’t do anything right.So I left home because I couldn’t handle it-—I couldn’thandle all the pressure.”Parents want what’s best for their children.Evaluations of the relationships between theparticipants and their parents varied considerably betweenparticipants. Looking retrospectively at parentalinfluence in general, however, participants shared thebelief that on the whole, their parents wanted what wasbest for them.Despite a “distant” relationship with her mother, forexample, Tricia confides, “They both want what’s best forme •“137With regard to the goals she has set for herself,Alison shares a similar feeling:She wants what’s best for me. She thinks thatteaching will be good for me cause I’m not good insciences...I thought I would love languages, and shesaid that she was happy that I found something thatI loved.Anne struggled with guilt due to the perceived lackof support from her mother for her educational goals.Nonetheless, she suggests, “She lays a lot of guilt trips,but I think she still wants what’s best for me--she wantsme to succeed because I am her daughter.”Meagan re—evaluates a previous incident with herfather that generated negative affect at the time, “...1guess they were just trying to look out for me. Parentsalways want what’s best for their children.”Angela speaks of this theme with regard to herprevious relationships, “They were always right. And Iknow now that they just wanted what was best for me, eventhough at the time I didn’t listen to them.”Autonomy is necessary for growth.Several participants asserted that despite the beliefthat parental influence was strong, they themselves hadneeded to go through a process of independent learningbefore being able to settle on career goals. Angela, forexample, describes an experience with her parents during138which she suggests:We were fighting about a couple of boyfriends that Ibrought home. It was just a stage in my life, butthey were telling me that these guys weren’t rightfor me. They were right. . .they’ve always been rightabout stuff like that. But I’ve had to find that outfor myself, to grow and learn from my mistakes.Also describing a poor relationship in the past andher sister’s suggestions that she end it, Sara confides:All of the things that she was saying about him weretrue. He wasn’t the greatest person for me, but I hadto find that out in my own time, and I totally neededthat experience because it showed me what I want anddon’t want in a relationship. . . for my own self, Ithink it helped.With regard to her decision to enter college, Juliasuggests, “She was right, and I’m glad I’m going toschool, but it had to be my decision to come, and I had tofigure that out in my own time.”Colleen also speaks about her experience with hermother’s suggestions that she continue her schooling:It was important for me to stop and find somethingthat I actually cared to learn before I went back toschool to learn it. And then I worked for awhile, andhad been thinking about going into theatre, and I hadto go through all sorts of things like that. . .my mom139bent over backwards to help me through school, but inthe end it had to be my choice to come here.Similarly, Meagan asserts, “My father had all ofthese rules to follow, but I had to find my own way inlife, to figure out what was right for me.” Anne suggesta similar experience, “She always wanted me to go intobeing a live-in nanny, she didn’t understand that I had tofigure out what was right for me.”Participants understand parental points of view.As previously suggested, struggles or conflicts withparents over career values and goals were commonlydiscussed occurrences in the retrospective narratives ofthe participants in this study. Despite such experiences,several participants also state that they have come tounderstand the origins parental behaviour, feelings andexpectations. In other words, these participants suggestthat influences in their parents’ own lives have anindirect influence on their lives and their relationshipswith their parents. Parental expectations, for example,were often understood as stemming from their parents’desire for their children to have a better life than theydid. Such understanding of parental points of view wascommonly followed by statements of acceptance of pastparental behaviours and expectations that were onceperceived as restricting, and/or acceptance ofparent/participant value differences in these narratives.140Colleen speaks of her understanding of her father’s“isolation”:He’s extremely intelligent. My understanding is thatas a child he was very bright and musically verytalented and linguistically talented and all thisstuff. But by the time I knew him as a father hewouldn’t speak a word of French or play the pianobecause I know the kinds of things in his life thathave dampened each one of those things. So he justbecame an intelligent person that didn’t have muchpatience with people less intelligent than him, andvery socially isolated.She has come to accept her father’s emphasis on“intellect” and his desire for isolation despite herstruggles with these values in the past. She asserts,“I’ve had to come to accept that this is just his nature.1 may not have agreed with some of his expectations but Ihad to learn to make my own decisions.”Sara describes her understanding and acceptance ofher father’s abandonment when she was 12 years old:And my relationship with my dad now--he doesn’t doanything to contact any of us. If we never didanything to contact him, then he would never contactus. But I can accept our relationship now because Iunderstand what my dad went through and how he feelsnow. He obviously feels a lot of shame around that,141and so I will always seek out my dad.Meagan asserts her understanding of her parents“push” for her to pursue post—secondary education:.they grew up around World War One or whatever, andso they’re really old-fashioned. They never got thechance, as we do today, to fully educate themselves.So that’s a really strong issue for them, you know,“You’ve got this opportunity, if you want to use it.”Angela details her understanding and eventualacceptance of her mother’s concern about her travelling inthe past, concern that at one time left Angela feelingvery “restricted” in her development as an individual:She worried when I was travelling and stuff, but Ithink that’s just part of being a parent. And I knowthat it’s not that she didn’t trust me, it was whatother people might do that worried her. . .1 don’tthink her worries were necessary, but I know that’sjust the way she is...So, the things that she agreeswith and I don’t, then that’s just a part of life.Anne gives her understanding of the reasons for hermother’s “jealousy” and lack of support for hereducational and vocational goals:Her and her mother didn’t get along very well either,so she was the first born and my grandparents werevery strict with her. So when she got out into theworld she went kind of wild. It seems to me that she142was resentful and so she went out and kind of messedup her life a little bit. She first had a marriagethat didn’t work out and then she had three childrenwhen she was single. . .A lot of things haven’t workedout for her.She goes on to state her eventual acceptance of hermother’s feelings and behaviour despite having felt itsnegative effects on her own development in the past:She shouldn’t have treated me the way she didsometimes, but as you grow up you see what yourparents had to go through. So, even though she maynot have brought us up the right way, she had a lotof problems, and she was just taking her frustrationout on me. I didn’t like it at the time, but I’velearned to accept it.Julia mentions her understanding and acceptance ofher mother’s unemotional nature, a trait that left Juliafeeling very unsupported as a child after she was sexuallyabused by a relative:My mom can’t——she has to be secure in every sense ofthe word, because of the way she’s grown up. So, shecan’t emotionally talk. She’s not a huggy kind ofperson. She talks about politics, not feelings. Ourrelationship has been pretty strained, but I’ve justhad to learn to accept that she’s so unemotional, youknow.143Personal learning from a parent’s life experiences.The majority of participants suggest that theirdevelopment and establishment of career values and goalshave been influenced by their parents’ own lifeexperiences. Sara, for example, describes the learning shehas acquired from her sisters’ experiences in trying toraise her:I think I’ve realized that you have to have goals andyou have to meet them, and financially you have to becomfortable. Obviously for my sisters it wasdifficult sometimes. I think it drives me to workharder to succeed, so that I don’t end up in aposition where I’m lost or something.Responding to a question dealing with the influencesshe perceives as having affected her decision to attendcollege, Julia suggests:Well, I guess maybe my mom’s experience having totake accounting by correspondence while trying toraise four kids. She had a hard past, and she wasn’table to go to university right away.With regard to her goals for marriage and family,Angela asserts:My mom is really dependent on our family, and I don’tthink it’s healthy, and it causes her a lot ofstress. I’ve seen my mom go through it and all theproblems she’s had, and so I don’t want to fall into144the same trap when I get married and have a family.Two examples of learning from a parent’s lifeexperiences are provided by Meagan. The first example hasto do with her experience of such an influence on hereducational goals. She suggest, “They’ve both been througha university establishment and I just basically see theprosper from their lives maybe that has led me to thispathway.”The second example relates to her personal goals formarriage:I’ve realized that if I go out there and if I find“Mr. Right”--I’ve seen through their lives that it’sbeen hard for them. My parents’ marriage has alwaysbeen rocky, but I guess they’re old—fashioned andthey don’t believe in splitting up, so that’s becomean issue for me. I don’t want to think about thepossibility of divorce.Alison also provides examples of the experience ofpersonal learning from her mother’s life experiences. Sheexplains, “She’s gone through a lot. It’s been hard forher working and trying to raise a family at the same time.So, I think it’s important to have more of a balance inlife.”With regard to marriage and family goals, she goes onto suggest that her mother’s experiences in this regardhave also been influential:145Divorce has had an influence, cause it’s hard totrust people. You’re always weary whether you want tomarry or not, just because you think it’s going toend in divorce. You’ll end up unhappy, just like yourmom.Parent/child relationships change over time.Several participants discuss their experiences withchanges that have occurred for the better in theirrelationships with one or both parents within the pastcouple of years. Most of these same participants furthersuggest that the transformations that have beenexperienced have coincided with their own goal settingbehaviour. Anne, for example, has noticed a change in herrelationship with her mother since she moved away fromhome. She explains, “I had to get out, and that’s why Imoved out right after graduation. We get along okay nowwhen we see each other...It hasn’t always been, but we’regetting closer”.Meagan has also noticed a change in her relationshipwith her father:One thing I’ve really noticed lately is that when Iwas in junior secondary school, my father and I werelike milk and water. We just did not mix...But I’venoticed that as soon as I’ve started to take thisinitiative (going back to school), he’s starting totreat me as more of an adult. Our relationship has146gotten much better. It’s kind of mended, you couldsay. So I think that definitely for me to pursuesomething has strengthened our relationship.Similarly, Angela suggests:My parents have changed over the past couple ofyears. They used to be very protective of me, butthey’ve gone away a lot and left me alone. And Ithink I’ve shown them that I’m responsible, andthey’ve really loosened up on a lot of things, whichis great.Julia describes a transformation in her relationshipswith both her mother and her father:Well, to begin with, he was on a huge pedestal. Noone could say anything bad about him. It’s just beenthese past couple of years he’s been at my level. Ican relate to him a lot better. I can see him as morewhat he is now and not just a great, incredible dad.The change in her relationship with her mother stemsfrom her acceptance of her mother’s qualities that wereonce perceived as unsupportive and restricting. Shesuggests, “It’s been pretty strained, because we used tohave these huge fights. . .but we’ve gotten closer again.I’ve just had to accept that she’s unemotional...”Colleen has also noticed that a change in herrelationship with her mother transpired after she finallymade the decision to go back to school:147Now I’m able to talk to my mother about my careergoals. I guess she is relieved that I finally havesome. We talk about them a lot. She’s going through acareer change herself, so we talk about schools andhow to find information, whereas before, I kind ofshut her out of what I was doing.The above examples are provided by participants whosuggest that changes in their relationships with theirparents have occurred for the better. One participant,however, suggests that while such a transformation in herrelationship with her mother has not occurred, she ishopeful that one day it will. This example is provided byTricia:I hope that someday I will be able to talk to her andconfide in her in a way, even if I can’t confidetotally anymore. Right now though, she’s still notthe first person I run to tell things to.Commitment.The participants in the current study indicatedvarying degrees of commitment to at least one particularcareer goal or value at the time of their individualinterviews. Sara, for example, asserts:I’ve decided what I want to do and I definitely knowwhat I want to do and I definitely know what goals Ihave in store for myself.. .they aren’t something I’mwilling to compromise.148In discussing goals for herself, Meagan states, “Idefinitely would like to get a Masters in psychology andmaybe open up my own practice someday.”Anne details the specific values that would berealized through her career goals:• . . I want to eventually go into a teaching program atthe University of Calgary. . . I thought teaching wouldbe a good job to go into because I enjoy children andI think it would be challenging. . .1 want to get outof B. C., first of all because it’s expensive to goto school here. It’s also too crowded and I hatebeing crowded.Similarly, Julia describes her goals, “...to be ateacher, and get married, probably to the guy I’m goingout with.. .And I wouldn’t mind living in Richmond andhaving kids...”Colleen clearly defines her goals:What I see is spending about a year in daycare andthen looking toward having my own children. So I’llprobably spend another year in daycare, but alsopregnant. And then I’d like to stay home forawhile. . . then I may go back to daycare, or go andwrite children’s books or something perhaps out ofthe workforce. I’ll keep going in this field untilits been enough for me-—it’s personally intensive.Angela asserts her goals for vocation and family:149I’m going into nursing and I’m starting inSeptember. . .1 want to have a family, but I don’t wantto have it now. I want to travel and live my life,get everything done that I want to do and then thinkabout having a family.Alison succinctly states her own career goals, “I’mplanning to go to SFU, and I’m going into linguistics andmajoring in French. . . I want to be a teacher in French orSpanish.”Like the participants just described, Brad indicatessome commitment to a particular career goal, however,unlike these individuals, he does not indicate the sameintensity of commitment. For example, at one point in hisnarrative, he suggests, “I’d like to swim, and if I’m notable to swim I’d like to coach swimming. And then I’d liketo be head coach five years down the road”. However, healso indicates at another point in his narrative, “I’vebeen in kind of a rut lately and I’m not sure what I wantto do.. .I’m not goal—centred right now.”In three narratives, participants indicate a relativelack of commitment to career goals. Trevor, for example,despite his decision to “try out” physiotherapy, states:Really, I’m at a crossroads. .I’m still trying to getmy feet wet in terms of what I want to do and whatthe rest of my life means to me I guess.. .I’ve beenvery confused for about the last two years and I’ve150changed my mind many times and Ive also considerednot going to school too, because I’m not sure what Iwant to do still.Tricia asserts her desire to form goals and to committo them, “I want to have goals and be able to reach them.”Upon being asked a question about her career goals,Nancy similarly suggests, “Well, I’m not actually sureyet. At one point I was thinking about engineering, butnow I don’t think so. ..“It is important to note that while this theme was notdirectly linked by participants to the experience ofparental influence on career development in theirnarratives, it is included as an important themeassociated with identity formation process as adhered toin this study.Confidence in success.All participants experienced some degree ofconfidence that they will reach their goals. Eightparticipants describe a high level of confidence that theywill succeed in reaching their goals: Julia, Alison, Sara,and Anne, for example, all state, “I know I will”, andMeagan, Colleen, and Angela suggest, “I’m prettyconfident.” Brad explains that, “My goals may change, butfor now, I’m confident.” As suggested earlier in thedescription of parental support as an experiencedinfluence, all of these participants agree that parental151support contributes to their level of confidence inreaching their goals. Colleen, for example, states, “I’mpretty confident...especially if my parents are nothindering variables...”Meagan suggests, “I’m pretty confident, especiallywith the support of my family.” Similarly, Angelasuggests, “My family’s really supportive, so I’m prettyconfident.”The remaining three participants indicate a lesserdegree of confidence: Trevor suggests, “I’m hoping, but Ithink I’ll be okay”; Nancy, “I’m hopeful, once I make somedecisions”; Tricia, “I’m pretty hopeful, once I eventuallyset some goals.” Although these three participants makemention of the perceived benefits from parental support intheir lives (as described earlier), they make no explicitmention of a connection between family support andconfidence in reaching goals.Personal responsibility for success.Despite the recognition that parental support wouldbe instrumental in reaching life goals, the majority ofparticipants also experience the personal responsibilityrequired in order to be successful. Angela asserts, forexample, “I’ve always been one that when I want something,I’ll get it done, or I’ll do it. If I’ve got themotivation then I’ll get it done.. .and I have themotivation.”152Colleen suggests:I’m a real planner, and my plans are usually quiteaccurate. So I’m pretty confident about what I’ve setout for myself for the next three to five years. Andit’s up to me whether my planning works out.With regard to her goal of eventually pursuingadvanced education in psychology, Meagan states, “I reallythink that a lot of my confidence comes from my own driveand desire for it.”Anne explains that for her to reach her goals, “Mygrandparents will be there and my mother will be there,but ultimately it will have to be me that gets me there.”Similarly, Julia explains, “I can’t imagine my self doingsomething else, so I’ll get myself there.”SummarySeveral themes relating to the experience of parentalinfluence on career development are evident in thenarratives of the 11 participants in this investigation.While parental influence tended to be regarded as “subtle”by the majority of participants, it appears to havemanifested itself in the parent/child relationships in avariety of ways. Parental support, one theme observed inall 11 narratives, was found to have a positive influenceon participant confidence and motivation in establishingand working toward life goals. Parental support forindependent decision making was further experienced as153facilitating the development of autonomy, which in turnwas experienced as fundamental in personal growth and thepursuit of career goals. Parental support was also oftenexperienced in families where open communication and theopen expression of thoughts and feelings was encouraged.The experience of a lack of parental support for theparticipants’ abilities to make independent decisions andfor specific career decisions, on the other hand, wasexperienced as restricting of the participants’development of personal values and in their movementtoward life goals. In those incidents where a lack ofparental support was perceived, participants also oftendescribe their experience of having struggled with lowself—confidence and low self—esteem, and/or with pressureresulting from parental expectations.As previously mentioned, communication in familyrelationships was commonly associated with the experienceof support and/or lack of support from parents and alsowith the experience of “close” versus “distant”parents/child relationships.Parents were universally experienced as havingattempted to encourage particular values and goals intheir children. These values and goals were eitherrejected by the participants in the past, or they wereincorporated into the young person’s set of personalcareer values and goals. Where parental values and goals154were experienced as “expectations”, participants commonlydescribed feeling “pressured” to follow career paths thatwere often contrary to their own values and goals. In suchcases, parents were thus experienced as an influence to bestruggled against in order to assert one’s preferredvalues and goals. This struggle often took the form ofverbal conflict with one or both parents, and was oftenlabelled by participants as a form of “rebellion”.Despite value differences with parents in theparticipants’ pasts, the majority recognizeretrospectively, that their parents had wanted what wasbest for the participants’ own lives. Nonetheless, most ofthese same participants assert that in order for them tohave come to this realization, and in order for them tohave discovered their own preferred values and goals, theyhad needed to be able to experience independent decisionmaking and learning from their own mistakes. Severalparticipants state that they have come to understand theorigins of their parents’ values and goals; they havetherefore come to understand and accept those behavioursand expectations of their parents that had once beenexperienced as restricting of independent growth. Withthis acceptance, and with the establishment of their owncareer goals, this same group of participants indicatedexperiencing a positive change their relationship withtheir parents.155While family support was often experienced as beinginstrumental in the pursuit of life goals, the majority ofparticipants also realize the importance of their own rolein successfully reaching career goals.Associations With Identity StatusWith regard to observed associations betweenexperiences of parental influence on career developmentand identity status classifications, several patterns areevident. For instance, only those participants who arehigh scoring in Identity Achievement indicate havingreached the stage of recognizing the need for independentlearning (autonomy) for the realization of personal valuesand goals. These same participants are also the onlyindividuals who indicate an understanding and acceptanceof past parental behaviours and expectations in theirnarratives. Further, they are the only individuals whosuggest an awareness of a positive change in theirrelationships with one or both parents since establishinga commitment to personal values and goals (the one exampleof experiencing “hope” that such a change will occur isexpressed in the narrative of a participant of Moratoriumstatus). These themes are not only experienced solely inthe Identity Achieved youth, but they are observeduniversally in the narratives of this group ofparticipants.Another pattern that was observed involved the156narratives of those participants who were high scoring inIdentity Diffusion. These two narratives evidenced anexplicit lack of rebellion and/or conflict with parents.Parents were not perceived as unsupportive at any time inthe recounted incidents of these two participants. Theperceived “pressure” from parental expectations that wasobserved in the remaining nine narratives was absent here.These were the only two narratives in which parentalinfluence was completely accepted without question.Discussion about the experience of “open” versus“closed” communication with parents the effects on one’scareer development and one’s relationships with one orboth parents is provided only by participants representingIdentity Achieved and Identity Diffused statuses. In otherwords, Moratorium youth did not discuss communication asan influence on their lives and their career development.Variability in committing to career values and goalsas well as in the level of confidence in successfullyreaching career goals may also be attributable to identitystatus differences. For example, those participantsclassified as Identity Achieved indicate experiencing firmcommitment to their established career goals. Further,they demonstrate clear awareness of the specific stepsrequired to reach their chosen career goals. The sixparticipants in this classification express a high levelof confidence in their ability to successfully reach157career goals.Unlike the identity achieved participants, thoseclassified as Moratorium status express very little, ifany, commitment to career goals. They tend to describethemselves as “directionless”, and/or stated career goalsare expressed as “possibilities”, or “changeable”. Allthree participants of this classification are “hopeful” ofsuccessfully reaching career goals once they areestablished.Those participants classified as Identity Diffuseexpress a high level of confidence in successfullyreaching career goals, and moderate to high level ofcommitment towards chosen goals. Despite the observedsimilarities with the experiences of the Identity Achievedparticipants, however, there is no stated evidence ofexperiencing autonomy and independence from parents asimportant for the development and pursuit of career goals.Demographic InformationWith regard to the demographic information collectedprior to the administration of the identity statusmeasure, and possible associations with identity status,only one pattern is evident. Nonetheless, it adds supportto a particular finding/theme identified earlier in thischapter. This pattern involves participants’ ratings on ascale of one to seven of their certainty of pursuing theoccupational choice they have currently decided upon (if158such a decision has been made). The mean rating forIdentity Achieved participants is 6.83 (n = 6). ForMoratorium participants this average is 4.33 (n = 3) andfor Identity Diffuse participants, 6.50 (n = 2). Intesting the hypothesis that certainty in currentoccupational choice would vary depending on one’s identitystatus, a Kruskal—Wallis one—way analysis of variance wasapplied to the rating scale scores. This test was deemedappropriate since there are three independent groups understudy, and thus a test for k independent groups is calledfor. Further, rating scale scores represent at leastordinal measurement of certainty of current occupationalchoice. The Kruskal-Wallis test suggests that certainty incurrent occupational choice does vary significantly withidentity status in the current investigation, H (2, N =11) = 6.45, p < .05. This finding supports earlierindications that both Identity Achieved and IdentityDiffuse participants expressed greater commitment tovocational career goals in their narratives. As with thechi square analysis described earlier, there was nopredetermined alpha level associated with the applicationof this test.159CHAPTER FIVEDiscussionIn this research, structural, statistical, andphenomenological approaches were used to answer thequestion, “Is there a relationship between identity statusclassifications and narrative structures with respect toexperiences of parental influence on career development?”Bringing in the specific research questions stated in thefirst chapter of this paper, through the identification andevaluation of critical incidents, the structural approachaddresses how the young adults in this study experience theinfluence of their parents in their lives and whether theyexperience their parents as having been helpful or harmfulto their pursuit of life goals. Both structural andstatistical analyses address the question of whetherindividuals of differing identity status structurenarratives of parental influence differently. Finally, bothstructural and phenomenological approaches address whethercommon themes relating to the experience of parentalinfluence exist in the narratives of the participants ofthis study, and whether these themes are found to beassociated with a particular identity status. Questionsassociated with whether the narratives show evidence of“crisis points” and “commitment” as Marcia’s (1966)identity status paradigm would suggest, are also addressedby these two methods.160It is important to recognize that both the identitystatus classifications and the narrative structures thatare the focus of this investigation are not fixed orstatic. As each participant moves through his or her lifeclarifying and modifying personal values and goals,progression to, and/or regression from a particularidentity status seems imminent. Further, differentinterpretations of how parental influence plays a part inthe individual’s current life story may emerge over time.Taking into account the dynamic nature of these variablesthen, the personal narratives recounted here stand as thenarrator’s significant interpretations of parentalinfluence at a specific point in their lives. So, therelation between narratives of parental influence andidentity status would vary depending on the particularpoint in time the adolescents were asked to participate inthis investigation.At one level, the three narrative types, along withthe predominant themes associated with the experience ofparental influence identified in this study provide furtherunderstanding of the role of parental influence in thelives and careers of young people. The narrative types lendsupport to the work of Young et al. (in press) in that theyclearly resemble three of five structures of narratives ofparental influence put forth by these investigators. Likethe structures described in the Young et al. study, the161three types identified here represent variations of Gergenand Gergen’s (1986) progressive narrative type in thatparticipants all identify themselves as moving towardcareer goals. Even where goals are vague, participantsidentify potential goals for themselves, or goals that theyare currently “trying out”. It should be noted that such aprogression does not necessarily represent the youngperson’s positive evaluation of their parents’ role intheir lives. In this study, progression toward goals isconstructed through a struggle with parental influence, andin some cases, through an extension of parental influence.These findings are supportive of those of Moriarty andToussieng (1976), in their empirical study of adolescentsbased on an Eriksonian viewpoint. They found that someparticipants in their study “quietly adopted” parentalstandards without question whereas others tended to modifyparental viewpoints on the basis of their own sensoryintake.The progressive nature of all 11 narratives furthersupports the notion that individuals have a need toconstruct their lives as success stories (Goffman, 1961,cited in Young et al., in press). Young et al. (in press)suggest that this need is intensified by the sociallyconstructed developmental tasks expected of olderadolescents and young adults such as entering anoccupation, finding a life partner, and living162independently of parents. This suggestion may explain the“unexpected” finding in the current investigationassociated with the participants classified as IdentityDiffuse, who identified clear goals in their interviews (bydefinition, identity diffusion involves a lack ofcommitment to career goals). In other words, the IdentityDiffuse participants in this study may have provided“socially desirable” responses to interview questionsabout their career goals, despite the uncertainty aboutcareer goals identified in the identity status measure.Both statistical and qualitative measures indicate arelationship between identity status classifications andthe experience of parental influence on career development(as identified through narrative structure andphenomenological analyses). While the limitationsassociated with statistical analysis utilizing a smallsample size are recognized, the significant result reportedadds support to observed associations identified throughqualitative means.The narrative method utilized in this study provides anovel approach to the study of the identity statusparadigm. The narratives of Identity Achieved andMoratorium participants, all classified as either“progressive with negatively evaluated stages”, or“progressive with a dramatic turning point”, describestruggles with parental influence at one or more points in163each individual’s life that could easily be termed “crisispoints”. The exploratory nature of such struggles, orcrises, is often identified by participants as involvingtheir own rebellion against parental expectations, and/orrejection of parental values and goals. In other words,parental values and goals had been considered and theneither rejected by the participant or incorporated intotheir sense of self.With the Identity Achieved participants, a clearpurpose, or personally desired life outcome was evident.They played out the course of their lives by choosing amongthe options presented to them. With the Moratoriumparticipants the discovering of a personally desired lifeoutcome through the weighing of alternatives is current;the process is not yet complete. This finding lends supportto results from previous research on identity formationthat suggest a strong relationship between exploratoryactivity and the Achieved and Moratorium statuses (e.g.,Blustein et al., 1989). This finding is consistent withrecent research suggesting that for Identity Achievedindividuals exploratory activity has occurred in the past,whereas those in Moratorium are currently experiencing thestruggle or crisis (e.g., Waterman, 1985). Like thenarratives of Identity Achieved participants, however,those provided by Moratorium individuals indicate apositive outlook on life and toward the eventual attainment164of goals (Waterman, 1985).In this study then, struggles with parental values andgoals were observed to be instrumental in the youngperson’s process of differentiation from parents. Thisfinding supports Erikson’s (1968) assertion that identityformation requires a certain amount of rebellion and/orrejection of parental ideas. Further, that, “expressions ofseparateness demonstrate the adolescent’s ability to definea sense of self as distinctive from others.”Cooper et al. (1984) report a similar finding in theirstudy: Participants who were rated as high in explorationexpressed higher levels of separateness from parents(through disagreements). The observation that IdentityAchieved participants reported greater amounts of autonomythan the Moratorium and Identity Diffused participants(identified through the experience of autonomy beingnecessary for personal growth) supports the findings ofresearch such as that put forth by Campbell et al. (1984)suggesting that Identity Achieved youth perceive thegreatest independence from family.Results from this investigation support the notionthat moderate amounts of conflict and the acceptance ofdisparate views on parent-young adult relationships can setthe stage for the young person’s search for alternatives ashe or she disagrees with his or her parents’ views. It isthis searching process that theoretically leads to more165psychosocially advanced identity statuses (Adams et al.,1989). The suggestion that families who are highly cohesivemay discourage exploration, thus inhibiting identitydevelopment (Brown & Adams, 1985) was also supported inthis study through narrative interpretation of IdentityDiffuse participants.The narratives of Identity Achieved youth furtherindicate strong commitment to particular career goals,whereas the narratives of Moratorium youth do not. Thesefindings are consistent with Marcia’s (1966) definitions ofIdentity Achieved and Moratorium classifications within theidentity status paradigm.As suggested previously, some inconsistency with theidentity status paradigm was discovered in the narrativesof Identity Diffuse participants. While these narrativeswere indicative of a lack of crisis or exploratory period(as suggested by the absence of a struggle with parentalvalues and goals, as well as a lack of informationgathering activities in the incidents recounted), they alsoportrayed the participants as having a moderate to strongcommitment to vocational goals. So, these findings supportMarcia’s (1966) definition of Identity Diffusion withregard to the absence of a “crisis” period, but they do notwith respect to an absence of “commitment”. As such, thesenarratives would seem more likely to be associated with theForeclosure status. This inconsistency may be due to the166fact that the identity status measure was given three weeksprior to the interviews. Possibly the EOMEIS-2 provokedsome thought about individual goals that in turn stimulatedprogression to the Foreclosure status by the time of theinterview.Alternatively, as suggested earlier, these narrativesmay have been influenced by social desirability responsesby participants in their interviews (however, if this weretrue, it would seem likely that moratorium youth would beinfluenced in a similar fashion, yet this was not observedto be the case).A third possibility involves a weakness in theidentity measure, the EOMEIS—2. However, the measure’sinability to distinguish between Identity Diffusion andForeclosure has not been suggested in any of the previousresearch employing the EOMEIS-2. This inconsistency mayalso be viewed in light of a possibility raised by Archer(l989b, cited in Vondracek, 1992), in that for differentpeople, different domains of identity development may havethe most salience. Thus, at any given point in time, anindividual may be more advanced in their quest for IdentityAchievement in one domain than in another. Consequently,the Identity Diffuse participants in this study may havebeen diffuse with respect to political and religiousconcerns, and/or with respect to the interpersonal identitysubscales, for example, but foreclosed with regard to167vocational choice (despite using a broad definition of“career” in this investigation, participants tended todiscuss career goals with regard to the vocational domain).Finally, this result may also be accounted for by theassertion that “few pure Diffusion—status types areobserved among healthy adolescent populations” (Adams etal., 1989). Nonetheless, due to this inconsistency,findings with regard to the experience of parentalinfluence and Identity Diffusion do not support manyresults of previous research. Unlike Cushing’s (1971, citedin Grotevant, 1983) finding that Diffused adolescents tendto perceive their parents to be rejecting and withdrawing,for example, the Diffused participants in this studyperceived their parents to be supportive and encouraging.Similarly, contrary to the finding provided by Campbell etal. (1984) that Diffused youth were the least emotionallyattached to their parents, relationships between theDiffused participants and their parents in the currentinvestigation were experienced as “close” and “supportive.”However, the finding that the Identity Diffuseparticipants in this study focussed on goals set early inlife without question supports the research of Blustein andPhillips (1990) with regard to their suggestion thatIdentity Diffuse and Foreclosed youth tend to utilizedecision making strategies that exhibited a lack ofinformation gathering activities.168Due to the small sample size and the relative absenceof males participating in this study (2 of 11), nosignificant gender differences were found. Nonetheless, oneobservation is worth noting. In their narratives, femaleparticipants as a whole spoke in terms of having consideredmarriage, family, and recreational (e.g., travel) goals,whereas the male participants spoke solely in terms ofvocational/occupational goals. This observation lendssupport to Gilligan’s (1982) suggestion that in adolescenceand young adulthood, males tend to focus on occupationalidentity issues and that females have a more clearlydefined sense of interpersonal identity.Our finding that identity formation appears to berelated to the experience that communication with one’sparents influences one’s career development supports Cooperet al. (1984) in their work with identity status anddimensions of family communication. This is particularlytrue with regard to their suggestions that parental supportof separateness, independent decision making, and openexpression of viewpoints are important for IdentityAchievement. The Identity Achieved participants in thisstudy similarly expressed the importance of opencommunication and open expression of thoughts and feelingsin families, for the development of an autonomous self.Current research suggesting that adolescentdevelopment may be viewed in terms of a transformation of169the parent/adolescent relationship is supported by thefinding that participants in this study who scored high inIdentity Achievement experienced a positive change in theirrelationships with one or both parents, usuallyconcurrently with the establishment and commitment topersonal goals. Commitments may thus be important forperceptions of increased intimacy with parents (Wienmann &Newcombe, 1990). The finding that Identity Achievedparticipants all at one time experienced struggles orconflicts with parents and then experienced a recent,positive change in their relationship with parents addssupport for a similar pattern observed by Pipp et al.(1985) in their study of adolescents’ perceptions of theirrelationships with their parents: Decreased emotionalcloseness was perceived in the relationship through earlyadolescence and then an increase in the amount of closenessin late adolescence. Similarly, in their study of youth andhow they perceive experiences with parents, Moriarty andToussieng (1976) found that participants in their sampledescribed a rebellious period followed by an “emotionallyserene” period, marked by the adolescents’ turning towardthe world and avoiding alienation from parents. Results ofthe current investigation suggest that such atransformation occurs with the establishment and commitmentto career goals and progression to the Achieved identitystatus.170Taken as a whole, the findings of this study lendsupport to the body of research cited earlier in this paperthat suggests a relationship between identity status andperceptions of the family (e.g., family influence, familyfunctioning, family communication, etc.). Morespecifically, this study supports work emphasizing thatboth connectedness (indicated through support, cohesivenessand acceptance) and individuation from the family(indicated through disagreements) are important for theexploration of career alternatives and in the developmentof a secure personal identity.While Identity Achieved participants expressedrecognition of the need for autonomy in the development ofpersonal goals, they also suggested that family supportwould facilitate the process of their reaching these goals.For both Identity Achieved and Moratorium participants,family support of independent decision making wasexperienced as encouraging the exploration of careeralternatives (even when parents were experienced as tryingto “subtly” encourage particular values and goals).Conversely, a lack of support from parents with regardto the young person’s ability to make independent decisions(usually resulting in confrontation between the youngperson and their parents) was experienced by theseparticipants as restricting of autonomy, personal growth,and the exploration of alternatives. It seems apparent171then, that developmentally the issue is not only how weseparate from oneness with our parents, but also how weconnect with them. As such, the process of maturity may bean alternating state of connections and differentiationwithin the context of ongoing relationships with parents.The narrative approach establishes a relationshipbetween a person’s past experiences and his or herengagements in the here—and—now. Reflecting on experience,then, narratives can be important tools for understandingone’s self in relation to others. The narratives of youngadults interviewed in this study thus provide a context fordiscussing experiences with one’s parents and theirinfluence on one’s career development process.The resulting narratives also provide a qualitativeunderstanding of the identity status paradigm. Through thenarrative strategy, this investigation provides support forthe notion that individuals of differing identity statusstructure narratives of parental influence on careerdevelopment differently. Consistency in narrative structurewas observed among the narratives of participants sharingan identity status, and this result is further supported bystatistical analysis.The results from phenomenological analysis build onthese findings through the identification of consistentthemes associated with the experience of parental influencewithin the narratives of individuals sharing an identity172status. In short, it seems evident that views aboutparental influence on career development can thus also beenseen as statements about identity.The current investigation has shown the family systemto be an important context for on&s development throughadolescence and into young adulthood. Using parentalinfluence as a career development variable, the findings asa whole suggest (in support of earlier work) that egoidentity is a promising variable in the study of careerdevelopment. As Erikson (1985) suggests:A pervasive sense of identity is born gradually of theselective affirmation and repudiation of childhoodidentifications.. .the young person must undergo aprocess of discovering an essential, or nuclear self,and of determining a set of self—selected roles andcommitments that will later bear the fruits of amanifest purpose. Thus with a sense of purpose, onebuilds the future one wants to live in. (cited inAtkinson, 1987, p. 156)Implications For PracticeA second purpose of this chapter is to examine theimplications that the results of this research have forcurrent practice and research and to raise questions forfuture research.Through the results of this study, the counsellor isoffered further understanding as to how young adults173construct stories of their lives accounting for parentalinfluence, and how individual life stories may bestructured differently. Findings also bring to awarenessdominant themes associated with the experience of parentalinfluence on career development and how these themes relateto identity formation in young adulthood.The narrative approach itself may serve to helpclients develop stories of their lives by which they investcareer with meaning by identifying themes and tensions inthe story line. Further, they may serve to represent anunderstanding about career and parenting in one’s life.As White and Epston (1990) have pointed out,persons gain a reflective perspective on theirlives, and new options become available to them inchallenging the “truths” that they experience asdefining and specifying of them and theirrelationships. (p. 30)Narratives can thus be useful in working with adolescents,young adults, and adults alike, who appear in counsellingasking, one way or another, “What am I living for?”, toexplore possibilities for developing a sense of purpose(and thus achieving an identity).Another implication of the results of this study andthe research cited herein involves the proposition that theprocesses of identity formation and career development areboth joint products of the young person and his or her174social context (parents/family). It was observed that thefamily context that best facilitates the individual’sdeveloping sense of identity and commitment to career goalsis one that involves both individuality and independence,and connectedness with parents. Individuality facilitatesthe developing sense of self as distinctive and unique;connectedness provides the security which permits the youngperson to venture out and explore. Parents are thus facedwith the challenge of negotiating the family’s rules androles to accommodate these developmental needs of theirchildren, and may require assistance with this process incounselling.The results of this investigation supports Levinson’s(1984) criticism that, “research and counselling on careerdevelopment have tended to focus narrowly on theoccupational domain. Other factors have been totallyexcluded” (p. 49). As such we are suggesting that ourunderstanding of, and intervention in, career developmentissues could be enhanced materially if we understand themwithin the context of the person’s overall life structure,or life story. Counsellors may thus, also wish to attendmore closely to family relationships in the development ofcareer—related interventions by, for example, determiningthe degree of support and conflict in the family,particularly for those adolescents and young adults whoseem to be expressing difficulties establishing and175committing to career goals. Another possibility might be tooffer psychoeducational programs for adolescents/youngadults and their parents that would aim at enhancing opencommunication, nurturing and autonomous relationships.In general, this research supports the incorporationof developmental perspectives into the career counsellingprocess, as it is recognized here that career choices areassociated with the search for identity. So, in workingwith young adults, an understanding of the identity statusparadigm could contribute to the counsellor’s ability toassess a client’s “problem” and to determine how personaland career “problems” interact.Suggestions For Future ResearchA limitation of the current investigation resultingfrom the use of qualitative measures of analysis concernsthe use of a relatively small sample size. Thus, the mostobvious suggestion for future research involves conductinga similar project with a larger sample size, possiblyfocusing on the statistical component, or the relationshipbetween narrative types and identity statusclassifications. Restricting the time betweenadministration of the identity status measure and theinterviews might provide a way of testing specifically therelationship between Identity Diffusion and the experienceof parental influence on career development. Along theselines, conducting a similar investigation with a larger,176more heterogenous sample might bring to light gender andculture differences with regard to identity status and/orexperiences of parental influence on career development.Gender differences in identity status, for example, havebegun to be addressed in the identity research in the pastdecade, however further work is needed in this area.Longitudinal research might be useful to capture thedynamic nature of identity status classifications andnarrative structures.The results of this investigation lend support to thenotion that ego identity is a promising variable in thestudy of vocational behaviour and development. However,parental influence is only one career development variable,and the narrative approach represents only one method ofaddressing the realm of parental influence. Furtherresearch is therefore needed to explore this recentlyassociated link between the identity formation and careerdevelopment literatures.In a broader sense, the current investigation suggeststhat an interaction exists between identity formation andcareer development. As such, future research could alsoaddress potential links between alternative stages ofpsychosocial development proposed as by Erikson and variouscareer development variables.The current investigation supports the use of anarrative approach to address the domain of parental177influence, however the specific gender role influences ofmothers and fathers on their male and female children isgenerally not explored in this study. Future research mighttherefore wish to consider these possible differences.The narrative approach itself might also provide aninteresting, novel method of identifying themes associatedwith alternative stages of psychosocial development asproposed by Erikson (eg., generativity versus stagnation).ConclusionIn the current investigation, narrative accounts wereused as the bases for the exploration of the way in whichyoung adults construct the domain of parental influence. Itwas discovered that different experiences of parentalinfluence could be accounted for in the explanation ofcareer development, and that these differences were likelyreflective of individual differences in the progress ofidentity formation. 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New directions for childdevelopment, . San Francisco: Jossey—Bass.Young, R. A., Friesen, J. D., & Borycki, B. (in press).Narrative structure and parental influence in careerdevelopment, Journal of Adolescence.Young, R. A., & Friesen, J. D. (1992). The intentionsof parents in influencing the career development oftheir children. Career Development quarterly, 4.Q, 198-207.189Appendix AUniversity of British ColumbiaParticipant Informed Consent FormProject TitleThe Relationship between Ego-Identity Status andRetrospective Narrative Accounts of Parental CareerInfluenceInvestigatorsThis project is supervised by the University ofBritish Columbia, Department of Counselling Psychology.Dr. R. Young, Dr. N. Amundsen, Professor J. Lynam, andAndria Sankey are the research investigators. It is beingcarried out by Andria Sankey as a thesis requirement for aMaster of Arts degree in counselling psychology.Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of this research project is to explorethe relationship between perceptions of parental influenceon career development and identity formation. Theresearchers are interested in trying to more fullyunderstand how young adults at different stages ofidentity formation perceive the influence of parents intheir lives.ProceduresVolunteers will be asked to complete a demographicquestionnaire and a measure of identity development.Basically, this measure looks at how one understands andviews him or herself.Based on the results of the identity measure, a smallnumber of volunteers (a maximum of 15) will be contactedby telephone and asked to participate in a confidentialinterview that will deal with they feel their parents haveinfluenced their lives and careers. This interview willlast for approximately 1 1/2 hours and will be audio-taped.A follow-up interview of approximately 30 minuteswill be conducted to enable participants to hear asummative evaluation of the experience, to discuss withthe interviewer any issues that arise from the summation,and to provide a sense of closure to the experience.All of the information collected will remaincompletely confidential and under no circumstances willparticipants be specifically or indirectly identified inwriting up the results of this study. Audiotapes and forms190will be identif led by a code number, and the onlyindividuals that will have access to the information willbe the members of the research team.A written summary of the interview will be providedfor each participant.Your participation in this study is voluntary. Youmay refuse to participate or withdraw from participationat any time without jeopardizing your standing as astudent in this class. You will have every opportunity todiscuss your concerns about this project, or yourexperience as a participant, at any time before, during,or after the questionnaire or interviews.The interviewer is aware that sensitive issues mayarise during the course of the interview, and willtherefore ensure that a level of comfort is reached beforeclosing.BenefitsParticipation in this study will allow theopportunity to tell your life story--to explore some pastevents in your life that you feel have had a impact onyour current career and life paths. You may become moreaware of some of the values you hold that have led you tocertain life decisions. Research in this area hasindicated that telling one’s life story can provide asense of meaning and understanding of how one’s past mayhave had an influence on the present and the pursuit ofgoals.If you have any questions or concerns, please feelfree to contact Dr. Richard Young at the University ofBritish Columbia at 822-6380. Messages can be left for me(Andria Sankey) at 822-5259.I acknowledge having read this and having received acopy of the consent form. I understand that my signingthis form indicates consent to the researcher to telephoneme regarding setting—up a convenient time for aninterview.Participant’s signature_______________________________________First name (please print)_________________________________Telephone number___________ ______191Appendix BIntroduction to questionnairesThe Relationship Between Ego-Identity Status andRetrospective Narrative Accounts ofParental Career InfluenceThe researchers involved in this project are Drs. R.Young and N. Amundsen of the Department of CounsellingPsychology, Professor J. Lynam of the Department ofNursing and myself, Andria Sankey.The following two forms include a demographicquestionnaire and an identity questionnaire. Thedemographic questionnaire is to provide me with someadditional information about you with regard to thedifferent contexts you live and work in, and also aboutcareer goals you may have set for yourself. The secondquestionnaire looks at how you see yourself, or morespecifically about your thoughts and feelings in areassuch as religion, occupation, sex roles, and dating. Youmay find that you gain some personal, self—understandingas you think about your answers to these questions. Bothquestionnaires should take approximately 15 minutes tocomplete.This information will be kept completelyconfidential. All questionnaires will be given a codenumber that will in no way be associated with your name.Your name and phone number that you have provided on theconsent form will be destroyed after I have contactedthose who will be participating in the second stage of thestudy. Identifying characteristics will not be used inwriting up the results of this study.By completing the consent form and thesequestionnaires, I will assume that you are agreeable to mycontacting you for an interview. However, you stillmaintain the right to withdraw from this study at any timewithout jeopardizing your standing in this course in anyway.Again, if you have any questions, do not hesitate toleave a message for me (Andria Sankey) at 822-5259, orspeak with Dr. Richard Young at 822-6380.Thank-you for your participation and interest in thisstudy.192Appendix CDemographic questionnaireThis form is to be completed by each individualwishing to participate in this study.1. Your age________2. Your gender (check one)_____male _____female3. Your current year in college______4. Are you a full-time student: Yes______ No_______5. Are you presently employed?Full Time__Part Time No6. Are you currently living:Alone________With roommate(s)_____With spouse/partnerWith parent(s)With other relative(s)__7. What occupation do you want to have when you finish allof your education and training?____ _______________8. How sure are you of your occupational choice?Uncertain 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 very sure9. What is your mother’s occupation?10. What is your father’s occupation?193APPENDIX DEOMEIS—2Read each item and indicate to what degree it reflectsyour own thoughts and feelings. If a statement has morethan one part, please indicate your reaction to thestatement as a whole. Indicate your answer by placing theappropriate letter at the end of each statement.A = strongly agreeB = moderately agreeC = agreeD = disagreeE = moderately disagreeF = strongly disagree1. I haven’t chosen the occupation I really want to gointo, and I’m just working at what ever is available untilsomething better comes along.2. When it comes to religion, I just haven’t foundanything that appeals to me and I don’t really feel theneed to look.3. My ideas about men’s and women’s roles are identical tomy parents’. What will work for them will obviously workfor me.4. There’s no single “lifestyle” which appeals to me morethan another.5. There’s a lot of different kinds of people. I’m stillexploring the many different possibilities to find theright kind of friends for me.6. I sometimes join in recreational activities when asked,but I rarely try anything on my own.7. I haven’t really thought about a “dating style.” I’mnot too concerned whether I date or not.8. Politics is something that I can never be too sureabout because things change so fast. But I do think it’simportant to know what I can politically stand for andbelieve in.1949. I’m still trying to decide how capable I am as a personand what jobs will be right for me.10. I don’t give religion much thought and it doesn’tbother me one way or the other.11. There’s so many ways to divide responsibilities inmarriage, I’m trying to decide what will work for me.12. I’m looking for an acceptable perspective for my own“lifestyle” view, but I haven’t really found it yet.13. There are many reasons for friendship, but I chose myclose friends on the basis of certain values andsimilarities that I’ve personally decided on.14. While I don’t have one recreational activity I’m reallycommitted to, I’m experiencing numerous leisure outlets toidentify one I can truly enjoy.15. Based on past experiences, I’ve chosen the type ofdating relationship I want now.16. I haven’t really considered politics. It just doesn’texcite me much.17. I might have thought about a lot of different jobs, butthere’s never really been any questions since my parentssaid what they wanted.18. A person’s faith is unique to each individual. I’veconsidered and reconsidered it myself and know what Ibelieve in.19. I’ve never really seriously considered men’s andwomen’s roles in marriage. It just doesn’t seem to concernme.20. After considerable thought I’ve developed my ownindividual viewpoint of what is for me an ideal “lifestyle”, and don’t believe anyone will be likely to changemy perspective.21. My parents know what is best for me in terms of how Ichose my friends.22. I’ve chosen one or more recreational activities toengage in regularly from lots of things and I’m satisfiedwith those choices.19523. I don’t think about dating much. I just kind of take itas it comes.24. I guess I’m pretty much like my. folks when it comes topolitics. I follow what they do in terms of voting andsuch.25. I’m really not interested in finding the right job, anyjob will do. I just seem to glow with what is available.26. I’m not sure what religion means to me. I’d like tomake up my mind but I’m not done looking yet.27. My ideas about men’s and women’s roles have come rightfrom my parents and family. I haven’t seem any need to lookfurther.28. My own views on a desirable lifestyle were taught to meby my parents and I don’t see any need to question whatthey taught me.29. I don’t have any real close friends, and I don’t thinkI’m looking for one right now.30. Sometimes I join in leisure activities, but I rarelydon’t see a need to look for a particular activity to doregularly.31. I’m trying out different kinds of dating relationships.I just haven’t decided what is best for me.32. There are just so many different political parties andideals. I can’t decide which to follow until I figure itall out.33. It took me a while to figure it out, but now I reallyknow what I want in a career.34. Religion is confusing to me right now. I keep changingmy views on what is right and wrong for me.35. I’ve spent some time thinking about men’s and women’sroles in marriage and I’ve decided what will work best forme.36. In finding an acceptable viewpoint to life itself, Ifind myself engaging in a lot of discussion with others andsome self—exploration.37. I only pick friends my parents would approve of.19638. I’ve always liked doing the some recreationalactivities my parents do and haven’t ever seriouslyconsidered anything else.39. I only go out with the type of people my parents expectme to date.40. I’ve thought my political beliefs through and realize Ican agree with some and not other aspects of what myparents believe.41. My parents decided a long time ago what I should gointo for employment and I’m following through with theirplans.42. I’ve gone through a period of serious questions aboutfaith and can now say I understand what I believe in as anindividual.43. I’ve been thinking about the roles that husbands andwives play a lot these days, and I’m trying to make a finaldecision.44. My parents’ views on life are good enough for me, Idon’t need anything else.45. I’ve had many different friendships now and I have aclear idea of what I look for in a friend.46. After trying a lot of different recreational activitiesI’ve found one or more I enjoy doing by myself or withfriends.47. My preferences about dating are still in the process ofdeveloping. I haven’t fully decided yet.48. I’m not sure about my political beliefs, but I’m tryingto figure out what I can truly believe in.49. It took me a long time to decide but now I know forsure what direction to move in for a career.50. I attend the same church as my family has alwaysattended. I’ve never really questioned why.51. There are many ways that family members can divide upfamily responsibilities. I’ve thought about lots of ways,and now I know exactly how I want it to happen for me.19755. I’ve dated different types of people and know exactlywhat my own “unwritten rules” for dating are and who I willdate.56. I really have never been involved with politics enoughto have made a firm stand one way or the other.57. I just can’t decide what to do for an occupation. Thereare so many that have possibilities.58. I’ve never really questioned my religion. If it’s rightfor my parents it must be right for me.59. opinions on men’s and women’s roles seem so varied thatI don’t think much about it.60. After a lot of self-examination I have established avery definite view on what my own lifestyle will be.61. I really don’t know what kind of friend is best for me.I’m trying to figure out exactly what friendship means tome.62. All of my recreational preferences I got from myparents and I haven’t really tried anything else.63. I date only people my parents would approve of.64. My parents have always had their own political styleand moral beliefs about issues like abortion and mercykilling and I’ve always gone along accepting what theyhave.198Appendix EInterview FormatIntroductionThank-you for volunteering to participate in thisstudy. Again, my name is Andria Sankey. I spoke with yourclass earlier about the purpose and nature of the study,however, I’d like to briefly go over that information withyou again and answer any questions that may have come upfor you since you completed the questionnaires. This studyis conducted as a requirement for the masters program inthe Department of Counselling Psychology at the Universityof British Columbia. Drs. Richard Young and NormanAmundsen of the Counselling Psychology Department andProfessor Judith Lynam of the Department of Nursing are mysupervisors.We are trying to more fully understand howindividuals at different stages of identity formationconstruct stories of their lives accounting for parentalinfluence on their career development. We would like tohear about some of the experiences you’ve had with yourparents, how you feel these incidents have influenced you,and whether you feel this influence has been positive ornegative. We would also like to hear about any goals thatyou have for yourself in your future.I should mention that we use the term “career” herein a very broad sense meaning to include the paths you’vetaken and the decisions you’ve made with regard tovocational and educational decisions, marriage and familydecisions——basically any decisions you have made withregard to what you do with your time.The interview will last for approximately an hour. Aswas noted on the consent form that you signed last day, Iam going to audio—record your story so that I can listento you without my having to interrupt or ask you to repeatsomething that I need to write down. The tape recordingwill be transcribed, or written out, so that allidentifying information, such as your name will be takenout. Again, all the information that you give will be heldin confidence, and will only be used for researchpurposes.Before we begin, do you have any questions orconcerns that you would like to bring up that I have notalready answered? (pause)——Cassette recorder turned on——1991. To begin, perhaps you could tell me a little aboutyourself, as far as where you are now in your life, andthe routes you have taken to get here.2. What kinds of events in your life have contributedto some of the decisions you have made (e.g., the decisionto enter college)?3. What is important to you? Do you have any plans orhopes for yourself in the future?4. Could you tell me a little about your parents--let’s start with your mother. What would you say isimportant to her?5. What about your father--when you look at the wayhe’s lived his life, what would you say is important tohim?6. Do you think that your parents have had asignificant influence on your career development, and thedecisions you’ve made in your life? If so, how?7. Can you think of any specific examples of eventsor times in your life during which you feel your parentshave either influenced you or tried to influence you?8. What was your response to your parents’ behaviourduring these incidents? (dealing with each incidentseparately)9. What did you do or how did you feel after theseevents occurred? (dealing with each event separately)10. Do you feel that these events were helpful orharmful to your career development? (dealing with eachevent separately)11. How much do you think you went along with whatyour parents wanted for you, and how much do you feel yourebelled?12. How do you think you parents feel about thedecisions you’ve made about your life.13. You’ve mentioned some goals or hopes for thefuture that you’ve set out for yourself. How confident areyou that you’ll reach these?200(A follow up interview of approximately 15 to 30minutes will be conducted within three weeks of theinterview. A summary of the transcript will be read andgiven to the volunteer. They will be asked for theircomments and whether they would like to make changes tothe summary)1. Do you feel that this summary accurately captureshow you feel your parents have been influential in yourcareer development, as you described during our firstinterview?2. Are there any thoughts or feelings that you wouldlike to add to your story?3. Is there anything written in your story you feelis inaccurate, that you would like to have taken out orchanged?4. Was the interview method conducive to the tellingof your story in the way you had wished to tell it? Do youfeel that the questions were appropriate or did you feelthey restricted you in any way with regard to your tellingyour story?

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