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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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


In this paper, the relationship between identity status categories and the experience of parental influence on career development is examined. The narratives of 11 young adults (18 - 25 years of age) regarding significant events through which their parents influenced them were first classified by narrative structure based on Gergen and Gergen’s (1986) narrative macrostructure framework. Three narrative types were identified and illustrated. They are, the Progressive Narrative with Negatively Evaluated Stages, the Progressive Narrative with a Dramatic Turning Point, and the Progressive Narrative Within a Positive Evaluation Frame. These resulting narrative types were then assessed in terms of their relationship to each participant’s scores on the Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (Grotevant & Adams, 1984). Both observational associations and a chi square correlation suggest a relationship. To validate the structural analysis, individual narratives were then analyzed in detail by a phenomenological method proposed by Giorgi (1975). Fourteen dominant themes were extracted and illustrated. Several patterns of themes were observed as relating to identity status classifications of the participants. The results of this study provide further understanding of the role of parental influence in the lives and career directions of young people. They also suggest that the experience of parental influence on career development for this population may be reflective of one’s stage of identity formation, or to the process of exploring and committing to career values and goals.

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