The Influences of Career Cognitions and Social Supports on Chinese Farmers’ Career Choice Consideration
2009, 41 (04):
Anchored in general social cognitive theory, the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, and Hackett 1994, 1996) was developed to combine the person, environmental and behavioral influences on individuals’ career choice and development. The theory emphasizes the central role of self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectation that enable people to assert personal control of their own career efforts. It also envisions that the environmental variables, such as social supports and barriers, may directly promote or restrict the exercise of personal control in terms of career choice. From this perspective, the theory is contradictory to Bandura’s suggestion that such environmental variables affect career choice indirectly though the influence of career cognitions. Since its introduction, SCCT has received a great deal of empirical attention. A number of studies used urban-resident samples to search for supports of basic prediction and central cognitive-person variables. However, there are not much investigation on SCCT’s hypotheses in reference to environmental influences and involving social vulnerable groups (especially farmers in China). Therefore, the present study used SCCT as its theoretical framework to develop and test the hypothetical model of career cognitions (career self-efficacy and career outcome expectation), social supports (positive support and negative support), and their influences on Chinese farmers’ career interest and choice consideration.
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Based on LB501-2002, together with in-depth interview data on career psychology and social supports, we developed a pro-questionnaire of career self-efficacy, outcome expectation, career interest, choice consideration and social supports related to occupations representing Holland’s (1985) RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional) career types. After conducting an item analysis of a pro-test sample of 419 farmers and by using structural equation technique, we were able to test the measurement and structural models with a formal sample of 628 farmers.
The results indicated that 1) across six career types, each subtest had a stable structure and perfect internal consistency and validity. 2) Consistent with SCCT’s core hypotheses and across Holland types, career cognition variables had positive influences on career interest and choice consideration, and the interest not only directly predicted choice consideration, but also mediated the positive relations between career self-efficacy, outcome expectation and choice consideration. 3) However, it is contrary to SCCT’s contextual hypotheses that, social supports generally and indirectly related to career consideration, with self-efficacy fully mediating the positive relation between positive support and choice consideration on “Enterprising” and “Conventional” types, and partially mediating the negative relation between negative support and choice consideration on “Conventional” type.
These findings provided that some new empirical evidences for testing SCCT’s hypotheses in terms of contextual influence on career choice, indigenous extension and development. They also had important practical implications for the Chinese farmers. The authors believed that social support can be very effective in changing the Chinese farmers’ employment by improving their cognition level, competition abilities and enhancing their confidence in the job markets.