Research Article


DOI :10.26650/SP2022-997542   IUP :10.26650/SP2022-997542    Full Text (PDF)

The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital

Selma Arıkan

The growing number of psychology undergraduate programs and increased quotas for existing programs mean increased competition among psychology students for post-graduation career opportunities. Career adaptability becomes an important factor for a person’s employability, career success, and satisfaction under competitive conditions. This study tests a research model formed based on career construction theory with the participation of 355 psychology undergraduates from Istanbul. This model examines participants’ demographic variables regarding their family’s socioeconomic status, childhood environment, personality traits, and positive psychological capital (PsyCap) as antecedents of career adaptability as well as PsyCap’s mediating role in these associations. The results show that, regarding demographic variables, the administrative size of the place where participants spent most of their life positively predicts career adaptability at a low level. Father’s education level was found to have a small negative effect on career adaptability. Openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, and agreeableness are the personality traits that positively predict career adaptability, while neuroticism negatively does. PsyCap acts as a mediator between the five personality traits and career adaptability. Among all the variables, the strongest predictor of career adaptability is PsyCap. As such, making investments in developing university students’ positive psychological resources using university career centers would be a better strategy for preparing young adults for work life. Future studies are recommended to include demographic variables related to middle and high school education and family-related variables such as parents’ personalities, family’s career orientations, and values attributed to children in order to better understand the roles demographic and family-related variables have on career construction. In addition to the theoretical model, data pertaining to the participants’ career objectives were also analyzed. The analysis results reveal 97.2% of the participants to be planning to apply for a master’s degree and 54.6% to have declared pursuing a career in clinical psychology. Considering the scarcity of postgraduate quotas compared to undergraduate quotas, this finding indicates that a significant portion of the participants should be more flexible in managing their post-graduate careers.

DOI :10.26650/SP2022-997542   IUP :10.26650/SP2022-997542    Full Text (PDF)

Psikoloji Öğrencilerinin Kariyer Uyum Yetenekleri: Demografik Faktörler, Kişilik ve Pozitif Psikolojik Sermayenin Rolü

Selma Arıkan

Psikoloji lisans programlarının sayısında ve mevcut programların kontenjanlarındaki artış psikoloji öğrencileri için mezuniyet sonrası kariyer fırsatları açısından rekabetin artması anlamına gelmektedir. Rekabetin arttığı koşullarda kişinin iş bulabilmesi, kariyer başarısı ve memnuniyeti gibi faktörler açısından sahip olduğu kariyer uyum yeteneği önem arz etmektedir. Bu araştırma kapsamında, İstanbul’da eğitimlerine devam eden 355 psikoloji lisans öğrencisinin katılımıyla, kariyer yapılandırma kuramının varsayımlarından yola çıkılarak oluşturulan araştırma modeli test edilmiştir. Bu model çerçevesinde katılımcıların ailelerinin sosyoekonomik statüleri ve yetiştikleri ortam ile ilişkili bazı demografik değişkenlerin, kişilik özelliklerinin ve pozitif psikolojik sermayenin kariyer uyum yeteneği üzerindeki yordayıcılığı ve bu ilişkilerde pozitif psikolojik sermayenin aracılık rolü incelenmiştir. Yapılan analizlerde demografik değişkenlerden katılımcının yaşamının çoğunu geçirdiği yerin idari büyüklüğünün kariyer uyum yeteneğini düşük ancak pozitif yönde, babanın eğitim düzeyinin de yine düşük ancak negatif yönde yordadığı gözlenmiştir. Kişilik özelliklerinden deneyime açıklığın, özdisiplinin, dışa dönüklüğün ve uyumluluğun kariyer uyum yeteneğini pozitif yönde, nevrotikliğin ise negatif yönde yordadığı; ayrıca pozitif psikolojik sermayenin beş kişilik faktörü ve kariyer uyum yeteneği arasındaki ilişkilerde aracı değişken olduğu bulunmuştur. Bütün değişkenler dikkate alındığında kariyer uyum yeteneği üzerinde açıklayıcılığı en yüksek olan değişken pozitif psikolojik sermayedir. Bu nedenle üniversite eğitimi sürecinde kariyer merkezleri tarafından öğrencilerin pozitif psikolojik kaynaklarının geliştirilmesine yönelik yatırımlar yapılması gençlerin çalışma hayatına hazırlanması açısından iyi bir strateji olabilir. Kariyer yapılandırma sürecinde demografik faktörlerin etkisini anlayabilmek için katılımcıların orta ve lise eğitimine ilişkin değişkenlerin; ailenin etkisini anlayabilmek için de ebeveynlerin kişilik özellikleri, ailenin kariyere verdiği önem ve çocuklara atfedilen değer gibi değişkenlerin yapılacak araştırmalara dâhil edilmesi önerilir. Test edilen kuramsal modele ilaveten, katılımcıların  kariyer hedeflerine ilişkin betimsel veriler de incelenmiş ve katılımcıların %97.2’sinin yüksek lisans yapmayı planladığı, %54.6’sının klinik psikoloji alanında uzmanlaşmayı istediği gözlenmiştir. Lisans kontenjanlarına kıyasla yüksek lisans kontenjanlarının azlığı dikkate alındığında bu bulgu, katılımcıların önemli bir kısmının mezuniyet sonrası kariyerlerini yönetirken daha esnek davranması gerektiğini göstermektedir. 


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


In Turkey, psychology has become a popular major over the last 20 years. Due to this ascending demand, new undergraduate psychology programs were founded, and the Turkish Higher Education Institution has increased quotas for existing programs (Arık, 2015). After graduation, psychology students will likely face fierce competition for master’s programs and employment opportunities. As the core concept of career construction theory (Savickas, 2013), career adaptability is important for the employability, career success, and satisfaction of graduates and employees (Nilforooshan & Salimi, 2016). Considering the increasing number of psychology students and graduates, this study aims to depict the antecedents of psychology undergraduates’ career adaptability by testing the predictive roles of demographic factors and personality traits on career adaptability and the mediating role positive psychological capital (PsyCap) has in these associations.

Career adaptability incorporates exploring one’s abilities and interests accurately, inquiring into prospective career paths, making the right career decisions, and being able to cope with the changes in work life (Nilforooshan & Salimi, 2016). Career adaptability comprises four dimensions: concern, control, curiosity, and confidence, each of which encompasses the necessary attitudes, beliefs, and competencies for fostering adaptive behaviors in career-related changes, transitions, and traumas (Savickas, 2013).

Demographic variables such as age, education level, and SES have been emphasized in the literature on career development (Ünsal, 2014). Family-related variables also play an important role in individuals’ self-construction as well as career construction (Savickas, 2013). Among these demographic variables, parents’ education levels, family income level, and childhood neighborhood have the potential to affect undergraduates’ career adaptability, as these variables influence their social networks, self-development and career development, and opportunities. The big five personality traits have been extensively studied as precursors of job performance and career success. Among those five traits, conscientiousness (Rudolph et al., 2017), openness to experience (Zacher, 2014b), and extroversion have been found to be positively associated and neuroticism to be negatively associated (Nilforooshan & Salimi, 2016; Zacher, 2014b) with career adaptability, while controversial findings have been found regarding agreeableness (Bozionelos, 2004; Gelissen & de Graaf, 2006).

Luthans et al. (2004) coined the overarching term of PsyCap to express self-efficacy, hope, resilience and optimism and emphasized its importance in today’s competitive work environment. Both demographic variables and personality traits are relatively stable compared to PsyCap (Luthans et al., 2007a). The existing literature has indicated demographic variables (e.g., Schelleman-Offermans & Massar, 2020) and personality (e.g., Bozgeyikli, 2017) to be likely to precede PsyCap. In addition, PsyCap has been reported to have a unique explanatory power over work-related attitudes and behaviors (Avey et al., 2010b). Taking these into account, this study scrutinizes the mediating role PsyCap has on the relationship between the career adaptability and the predictors of demographic variables and personality.

Method

The data were gathered from 355 psychology undergraduates in Istanbul, Turkey. Participants responded to online surveys comprised of the Big Five Inventory (John et al., 1991), the Positive Psychological Capital Questionnaire (Luthans et al., 2007a), the Career Adapt-Abilities Scale (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012), and a demographic information form that also includes questions regarding the participants’ career objectives. 

Results

The hypothesis testing was conducted using Model 4 in the software PROCESS Macro (Hayes, 2021). The analyses pertaining to the effect the demographic variables have on career adaptability reveal the administrative size of the place where the participants spent most of their life to positively predict career adaptability (R2 = .014, F = 4.911, B = 1.254, t = 2.216, p < .05). Despite its significant predictive value on career adaptability, the hypothesis regarding father’s education level was rejected, as it negatively predicted career adaptability (R2= .011, F = 3.965, B = -0.980, t = -1.991, p < .05). The results do not support PsyCap having a mediating role on the relationship between the demographic variables and career adaptability.

Among the big five personality traits, openness to experience (R2 = .153, F = 63.843, B = 0.633, t = 7.990, p <. 01), conscientiousness (R2= .194, F = 84.945, B = 0.845, t = 9.217, p < .01), extroversion (R2= .098, F = 38.130, B = 0.643, t = 6.175, p < .01), and agreeableness (R2= .062, F = 23.387, B = 0.512, t = 4.836, p < .01) were found to positively predict career adaptability, while neuroticism was found to have a negative effect on career adaptability (R2= .015, F = 5.215, B = -0.236, t = -2.284, p < .05). The results regarding the indirect effects personality traits have on career adaptability reveal PsyCap to act as a mediator in these associations. Both the correlation and mediation analyses also revealed that, among the antecedent variables, PsyCap has the strongest association with career adaptability.

Discussion

Among the antecedents of career adaptability, the demographic variables had minor effects, while personality and in particular PsyCap explained most of the variance in the level of career adaptability. Findings about PsyCap are especially promising, as PsyCap can be improved with intervention programs (e.g., Luthans et al., 2010). University career counsellors should consider implementing career development programs that involve interventions for developing undergraduates’ PsyCap pre-graduation. Such intervention programs not only have the potential to positively affect university students’ prospective careers but may also have positive influences over all aspects of their lives. 


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APA

Arıkan, S. (2022). The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital. Studies in Psychology, 42(2), 427-471. https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542


AMA

Arıkan S. The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital. Studies in Psychology. 2022;42(2):427-471. https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542


ABNT

Arıkan, S. The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital. Studies in Psychology, [Publisher Location], v. 42, n. 2, p. 427-471, 2022.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Arıkan, Selma,. 2022. “The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital.” Studies in Psychology 42, no. 2: 427-471. https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542


Chicago: Humanities Style

Arıkan, Selma,. The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital.” Studies in Psychology 42, no. 2 (Oct. 2022): 427-471. https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542


Harvard: Australian Style

Arıkan, S 2022, 'The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital', Studies in Psychology, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 427-471, viewed 5 Oct. 2022, https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Arıkan, S. (2022) ‘The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital’, Studies in Psychology, 42(2), pp. 427-471. https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542 (5 Oct. 2022).


MLA

Arıkan, Selma,. The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital.” Studies in Psychology, vol. 42, no. 2, 2022, pp. 427-471. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542


Vancouver

Arıkan S. The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital. Studies in Psychology [Internet]. 5 Oct. 2022 [cited 5 Oct. 2022];42(2):427-471. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542 doi: 10.26650/SP2022-997542


ISNAD

Arıkan, Selma. The Career Adaptability of Psychology Students: The roles of Demographic Variables, Personality, and Positive Psychological Capital”. Studies in Psychology 42/2 (Oct. 2022): 427-471. https://doi.org/10.26650/SP2022-997542



TIMELINE


Submitted19.09.2021
Accepted24.06.2022
Published Online11.08.2022

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