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Title: When should careers guidance happen? : associations between Theory of Mind, vocational interests and career aspirations
Author: Bawn, Rosanna
ISNI:       0000 0005 0287 7161
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2020
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Background and aims: Adolescence is a period of identity development and decision-making for the future. However, the relationship between the socio-cognitive development occurring during adolescence and how vocational interests (VIs) develop is absent in UK career guidance policy. There is evidence that Theory of Mind (ToM), the ability to attribute mental states to others, continues to develop during adolescence, and may affect VI development and stability. The aim of the research was to make a positive contribution to careers education by gathering evidence on the role of ToM alongside other variables (such as birth order and SES) in the development of VIs in adolescence. Three interrelated studies structure the research. Studies 1 and 2 explored associations between ToM, birth order and VIs, cross-sectionally (Study 1) and longitudinally (Study 2). Study 3 examined the stability of career aspirations and VIs. Methods: Participants were N=164 (62 male, 102 female) adolescents. Of these, n=91 were Year 10 pupils (mid-adolescents) and n=73 were final-year university students (late-adolescents). ToM was measured using a computer-based cartoon vignette paradigm; VIs were measured on a short, 4-item scale; IQ was measured using the WASI-II (FSIQ-2 Short Subscale). Quantitative analysis was conducted using SPSS. Results: We found evidence to support ToM development during adolescence. We also found significant positive associations between IQ, SES and career aspirations, and evidence to suggest a relationship exists between ToM and VI development, especially in late-adolescence. Conclusions: ToM is a useful construct to consider in relation to VIs and career aspirations, although further longitudinal research is needed. Our findings suggest the development of cognitive abilities during adolescence may be beneficial to understanding when careers guidance would be most usefully implemented, as well as emphasise the importance of providing individualised personal guidance.
Supervisor: Asbury, Kathryn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available