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The relationship of four dimensions of career orientation to the vocational maturity of grade twelve girls Richardt, Joan Marie


This research was a descriptive exploratory study which examined the relationship between four dimensions of career orientation and the vocational maturity of grade twelve girls. Vocational maturity was measured using the Career Development Inventory (CDI) developed by D. E. Super and D. J. Forrest (1972). The four dimensions of career orientation were: career salience, work role involvement, educational aspiration, and occupational role innovation. These dimensions were measured using questions and instruments drawn from the literature. The study was conducted with one hundred and eighty-five grade twelve girls drawn from existing classes in three senior high schools on the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. School district superintendents chose the schools to be used and local school authorities chose the classes. A review of the literature indicated that traditional theories of vocational development are not adequate to explain the career development of women. These theories are based on male career patterns and choices and do not take into account the other life role choices women make regarding marriage and motherhood, choices which can profoundly affect their career development. ... Instruments measuring vocational maturity have been developed in the past ten years and are used in high school settings to assist with counselling and career guidance programs. Because they are based on traditional theories of vocational development, these instruments cannot be applied to women in the same way as they are applied to men. The literature indicated that if indeed a vocational maturity instrument is used with women or girls, an accompanying measure assessing career orientation should be given as well. It was hypothesized that there would be no significant correlation (Spearman r) between vocational maturity and the four dimensions of career orientation defined for the study. The results showed that educational aspiration and occupational role innovation were significantly related to vocational maturity. Work role involvement and vocational maturity were significantly related as well. However, because of some difficulties encountered using the instrument assessing work role involvement, this relationship was interpreted cautiously. Career salience was found not to be significantly related to vocational maturity, indicating that perhaps because most girls expected to work in the future, their plans regarding marriage and family had no relation to their vocational maturity. Most of the grade twelve girls in this study were oriented to work and anticipated a dual—role life plan combining marriage, family and career. As well, they generally considered both work and family involvement to be very important in their lives. Most subjects chose traditional occupations and aspired to completing a two-year technical or career program at the college level. Almost all girls had some practical work experience and almost half had mothers who worked outside the home. The results of this study have implications for counsellors and career guidance programs at the high school level. Girls' educational and occupational choices can be meaningfully considered in the context of their vocational maturity. Counsellors can assist in breaking down the sex stereotyping of occupations by providing encouragement to explore a wide variety of occupational and educational opportunities. This type of exploration could enhance students' planning and decision-making skills for both occupational and life roles and could work to increase general levels of vocational maturity as well. Since most girls chose dual-role life plans, the importance of considering the consequences of such a choice becomes apparent especially in a life planning context.

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