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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Subjective assessments of career development : an exploratory study Gilligan, Thomas M.


This exploratory study of career development used a variation of Kelly's (1955) repertory grid methodology to obtain subjective measures of change in levels of positivity toward self and career over the period from adolescence to mid-life. The possibility of significant differences between men and women in the measures obtained provided a secondary focus. A group of ten male and ten female graduate counselling students, aged between 35 and 45 years, assessed the influence of ten periods in their lives on their career development. Each life period was assessed by means of a set of ten bi-polar constructs related to career development. Analysis of the variation between the average construct ratings, with repeated measurements across the ten life periods, showed a significant difference in levels of average positivity toward self and career. Subjects began with relatively low levels of positivity during adolescence and gradually acquired higher levels by mid-life. Men, compared to women, felt more freedom overall; acquired and maintained strong feelings of freedom faster; and overcame relatively low feelings of confidence in their decision-making ability earlier. Specific career counselling intervention strategies were suggested to facilitate the process of becoming more positive about self and career. Possible differences between male and female patterns of career development indicate the risks involved in using exclusively male referenced vocational guidance measures with female clients. The findings and tentative conclusions reached in this exploratory study could be validated by future research in this area.

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