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Occupational conditions as predictors of adult education participation Molina, José A.


The problem addressed by the inquiry stems from the relationship between work and leisure. The main concern of this study was to determine which set of variables, occupational conditions (complexity of the job, closeness of supervision, job routinization, job satisfaction, and job commitment) and background characteristics ( formal education attainment, level of income, ethnicity, and age) were better predictors of adult education participation. Using the "spill-over" hypothesis as a paradigm, the occupational conditions and background characteristics were examined in relation to adult education participation in a group of adults with low socioeconomic status. The "spill-over" hypotheses proposes that experiences and feelings from work affect leisure time activities. A model was used to study the relationships among background characteristics and occupational conditions "with adult education participation as the dependent variable. The design to implement this research was a structured survey. To collect data relative to the problem, a structured interview schedule was used to interview a random sample of 50 adults of low socioeconomic status living in East Vancouver. Measures of central tendency were applied to the data, as well as correlation, linear regression, and path analysis. A major finding of the inquiry was that occupational conditions were better predictors of adult education participation than background characteristics. Among the occupational conditions, complexity of the job and job routinization were found to be the best predictors of adult education participation. These findings were interpreted as follows: in groups of low socioeconomic status, workers with jobs which require reading, writing, analysing data or dealing with any written materials participate more in adult education activities than people who spend more time working with their hands. Similarly, workers who spend more time working with people tend to participate more in adult education-related activities than workers who have jobs that are extremely routine, predictable, and repetitive. Another striking finding was that formal education attainment was not the best predictor of adult education. This finding differs from reports in the literature, suggesting that in groups of low socioeconomic status there are variables, namely occupational conditions, other than formal education attainment, which have more power to explain and predict the phenomenon of adult education participation. How the occupational conditions compare with formal education attainment as predictors of adult education participation for more socioeconomically diverse samples remains a research question yet to be answered.

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