Practice and research in career counseling and development—2003

Practice and research in career counseling and development—2003

John C. Dagley

This annual review of the research and practice literature related to career counseling and development published during 2003 is presented in 6 major areas: professional issues, career assessment, career development, career theory, career interventions, and technology. The authors discuss the implications of the findings in this literature for career counseling practice.


The task of reviewing a year of professional publications on a topic of deep, personal interest seemed a pleasant challenge to undertake, but as the number of articles climbed, the challenge became daunting. In the end our review included 243 articles, each published in a refereed professional journal in 2003. We started our review by reading each article published in The Career Development Quarterly, Journal of Career Development, Journal of Career Assessment, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Journal of Employment Counseling, Australian Journal of Career Development, and International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance. Next, we selected and read each article related to career counseling and development published in the Journal of Counseling & Development, The Counseling Psychologist, Journal of Counseling Psychology, Professional School Counseling, Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, Journal of College Student Development, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, South African Journal of Psychology, and International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling. Further, we conducted a search through PsycINFO using a set of selected career development terms and identified a few additional articles of interest from Social Forces, Journal of Business and Psychology, Journal of Social Service Research, Sociology, The Policy Studies Journal, Journal of Labor Research, Counseling Psychology Quarterly, Australian Journal of Psychology, Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling, and Journal of Aging Studies. No books, book chapters, monographs, or electronic media are included in this review; thus, our review is not exhaustive. We discussed a majority of the articles that we reviewed in the first draft, but space limitations required that the discussion of a large number of the articles be deleted. (See the reference list for all 2003 articles that formed the basis for this review.)

The 2003 career counseling and development literature presented here is organized into six areas: professional issues, career assessment, career development, career theory, career interventions, and technology. These areas, with the exception of career development and career theory, were the focal points of at least one special issue or special section in The Career Development Quarterly, Journal of Career Development, Journal of Career Assessment, or Journal of Vocational Behavior. An outstanding characteristic of a special issue is that a given topic can be treated with unusual breadth and depth by a group of invited scholars with recognized expertise. We present the 2003 literature here by first reviewing in some detail the content covered in each special issue and then follow that substantive description with a brief synthesis of each related study of significance in the remaining literature. For the areas of career development and career theory, qualitative and quantitative studies published on a wide range of theoretical constructs and formulations are reviewed to highlight advancements in understanding and facilitating the career development of persons throughout the life span.

Professional Issues

The fall 2003 issue of The Career Development Quarterly (Savickas, b) comprised responses to challenges to well-known experts to share their perspectives on the profession’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The results provided a superb summary and analysis of the most salient issues facing the profession today. The statements collectively reminded those of us of in the profession of the significant contributions that we have made and, at the same time, served to apprise us of potentially difficult challenges ahead. Identified issues included a call to advocacy, a targeted research agenda, a deepening commitment to a broader and more culturally contextual framework of career counseling, and professional training enhancement.

Call to Advocacy

A renewed call for advocacy and social reform was evident in the statements of today’s leaders. Herr articulated a need to shape public policy in such a way that legislation would bring career counseling to the foreground as a major force in human capital development. Although career counseling has been recognized in labor market legislation as an important service to be offered at major transitional points in life, such as school-to-work, “relatively little legislation during the past 100 years has identified career counseling as a stand-alone process or as the sole focus of legislation” (p. 10). It is time to advocate for a full continuum of career counseling services that range from the more traditional services of interest assessment, decision-making assistance, and goal-setting support to the other end of the continuum, where career counselors help workers reduce stress and learn to deal more effectively with workplace anger, depression, work/life role imbalance, and interpersonal conflicts on the job. It is this end of the continuum of career counseling services–the mental health issues (Sonnenberg & Chen) and the emotional aspects of work (Parmer & Rush)–that is most likely to typify career counseling in the 21st century. Experts urge the profession to serve as a much stronger advocate for career counselors and for career counseling. Enough is known about the general effectiveness of career interventions to lead the profession toward more aggressive and forthright marketing (Niles).

Targeted Research Agenda

In a similar spirit of advocacy, Harris-Bowlsbey issued a clarion call for desperately needed research on cybercounseling. As the profession’s strongest and most experienced voice in computer-assisted career guidance systems and career counseling, Harris-Bowlsbey’s call rang exceptionally loud. She likened the hundreds of Web sites on the Internet that provide career services (e.g., information, advice, assessment, placement) to a smorgasbord of disjointed information, some of which may be rich in quality and some not so rich in accuracy. Harris-Bowlsbey urged the career counseling profession, through the National Career Development Association (NCDA), to conduct a form of action research that would take shape in a review of Web sites for quality assurance in the same fashion that NCDA now reviews videos and print materials. Further, she recommended that NCDA develop two prototype comprehensive Web-based career centers. “The first would serve the professional community, providing online access to the best in literature, assessment, curricula, publications, and Web ites to help professionals,” and “The second should serve the general public in making career choices and changes” (p. 22). McCarthy, Moller, and Beard issued a similar call for a Consumer Reports type evaluation of Internet sites.

One of the problems with career research has been that most has been aimed at career development or career choice and not at the process of career counseling; there are few descriptions of treatment protocols (Niles; Whiston, a). Very few studies contain process descriptions of sufficient detail to understand exactly what intervention led to what outcome, and virtually no intervention process has been described explicitly enough to enable replication. Further, there has been no report of formative process evaluation wherein it is possible to conclude anything about the quality of the intervention process. Process research is in urgent need of scholarly attention (Heppner & Heppner; Niles; Savickas, a; Tang; Walsh, b; Whiston, a). The gaps among theorists, researchers, and practitioners are wide. Each group seems isolated from the others, and each seems quite distant from populations who are not college educated, who are not cultural majority members, and who do not have the luxury of having career choices (Parmer & Rush; Whiston, a).

Commitment to a Broader Cultural Context

Parmer and Rush articulated a need for a broader conceptualization of career counseling services, one that emphasizes the interplay of cultural context, mental health issues, and work. Career and personal issues become intertwined in the reality of life in such a conception, because meaning is determined by each person from a culturally relative perspective. Each client, in effect, becomes his or her own “diverse population” of one. Parmer and Rush also advocated for a more proactive extension of career counseling services to persons of marginalized identities, such as persons of color, persons of various sexual identities, women, and others historically pushed toward the fringes of society in one way or another. Weinrach shared a doubt that mainstream counseling theories and career development interventions were ever designed to address poverty, homelessness, and wholesale shifting of welfare recipients into the workforce. He advocated an innovative use of career-counseling-sponsored, self-help groups in which peers could be helped to support each other, likely by sharing practical crisis intervention strategies.

S. S. Hansen’s “integrative life planning” approach to career interventions exemplified the importance of broadening the focus to include family roles as well as the role of spirituality in life and work. Niles suggested that career counselors should be oriented more toward “life structure counseling” or “life-role readiness” counseling. In addition, Pope advocated for the elimination of a long-standing cultural encapsulation and its concomitants–national chauvinism, isolationism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, and a socioeconomically constricted focus on the haves of our society. Others (Savickas, a; Weinrach; Whiston, a) also stressed the importance of stretching the profession’s work in theory, research, and practice to a broader range of heretofore underserved workforce participants in lower socioeconomic levels, where the whole concept of career seems inconceivable. As Tang pointed out, making career counseling more culturally inclusive has the potential for solving two major problems: inadequacy of services and the underutilization of services by nonmajority students and workers. Chung (a) saw advocacy as critically important in expanding career counseling services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) individuals. Although the last decade has seen a significant advance in career theory and research devoted to LGBT individuals, there is much more to address, especially in career counseling process research, to help identify the most promising strategies and, finally, to apply competency standards and training guidelines.

Professional Education and Training Enhancement

The 2003 career development literature was replete with expressions of concern about the lack of quality of the training currently being provided career counselors. Two issues seem to be coming together to make training a critical concern. The first issue is that the work once considered the domain of a professional career counselor is no longer necessarily assigned to or assumed by a professional career counselor. S. S. Hansen lamented the “deprofessionalization” of career counseling and worried that career counseling has become, in many circles, a profession characterized by a belief that “anyone can do it.” The growing lack of professionalization in career counseling has led to a compromising of the identity of career counselors (Harris-Bowlsbey). The rapid proliferation of persons with varying titles and levels of training who now hold themselves out as providing the services once considered the domain of professionally trained career counselors is at least confusing (Harris-Bowlsbey; Niles; Whiston, a), if not charlatanistic (Pope). Professional standards are urgently needed for the broad range of career service providers.

The second training issue concerns not just the presence of training programs or degrees but the absence of quality in professional preparation programs. There is little doubt that counselor education programs have devalued career counseling (S. S. Hansen; Pope; Tang). Graduate programs often assign their newest faculty members or adjunct professors to teach the one course that is typically offered at the master’s-degree level (Savickas, a), and that single, nominal course is rarely tied to a supervised practicum or internship experience (Harris-Bowlsbey). There continues to be a false dichotomy in training between the words career and counseling. Special nondegree training programs for career development facilitators add a much needed emphasis in career development theory and research, but little in supervised counseling, whereas typical counselor preparation degree programs provide excellent supervised counseling training but little-to-no career development instruction or career counseling supervision. This dichotomized perspective belies the genuine movement away from traditional views of a person’s educational, vocational, and personal concerns as separate entities and fails to recognize the career counseling profession’s movement toward an integrated and more holistic view of people as indivisible whole individuals.

Similar concerns about professional standards and related training issues are apparent around the globe (e.g., in Australia and in the Nordic countries). Geeves, in an interview with Athanasou (b), speculated that many practitioners of career counseling in Australia have no formal training other than their own life experiences. Although there are formal postgraduate educational programs in career counseling in universities throughout the country, apparently there is a lack of uniformity in credentials for career counselors (McGregor-Bayne, McIlveen, & Bayne).

Likewise the professionalism of career counseling specialists in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) is uneven in terms of training requirements (Plant; Plant, Christiansen, Loven, Vilhjalmsdottir, & Vurorinen). Training credentials range from the graduate degrees of work psychologists and guidance teachers to bachelor’s degrees in career guidance, to no training for barefoot counselors (guidance staff with no career guidance qualifications).

Supervision of career counselors. Given the relative absence of postgraduate supervision in career counseling (McMahon) and scarce presence of any career counseling supervision literature, it could be easy to surmise that the profession does not believe career counselors need supervision or, perhaps, that the work of career counseling is not sufficiently clinical, complex, or urgent in nature to warrant clinical supervision. However, without supervised practica or internships in career counseling, career counselors miss a crucial element of preprofessional training and postdegree continuing education. The quality of service is directly affected, particularly as the level of expectations and intensity increase. Patton and Goddard found high levels of psychological stress and emotional exhaustion in counselors who work with the unemployed in Australia. The exceptionally meaningful and challenging work of a professional career counselor is neither easy nor stress free. Yet for many it seems to be easy and something that anyone can do. As Holland (1973) suggested a generation ago, everyone is a vocational coach, with or without training.

Career coaching. Chung and Gfroerer made a valiant effort to identify some of the more salient practice, training, and regulatory issues surrounding the rapidly expanding field of career coaching. It is not necessarily new for people to play the role of career coach, but it is relatively new to be paid for doing so. “Career coaches and career development facilitators (CDFs) are similar because in neither case is a master’s degree in counseling required” (p. 143). Yet they are different in that the nationally certified CDFs are required to demonstrate 120 training hours, or approved contact hours. Without training in counseling, assessment, and psychology, career coaches are essentially practicing counseling without a license in a totally unregulated, “unprofessional” environment.

Career development of career counselors. The working alliance of the counselor and client is an important ingredient in successful goal achievement, accounting for up to 70% of the effect size according to some researchers (Ahn & Wampold, 2001; Wampold, 2001). Others estimated much lower (12% and under) effect sizes in career counseling (Multon, Heppner, Gysbers, Zook, & Ellis-Kalton, 2001), but, on the whole, career counseling process research has seemed to suggest that the working alliance in counseling–as well as the counselor as a key variable in that alliance–is worthy of significant research inquiry. Unfortunately, career counselors have long neglected studying their own career development, just as have other counselors and therapists. That is, until Skovholt and Ronnestad (c), and their colleagues, conducted and then reported on a series of qualitative studies of the developmental process experienced by counselors from their beginning graduate school days throughout their careers. In a 2003 special issue of the Journal of Career Development (Skovholt & Ronnestad, a), Ronnestad and Skovholt presented a reformulation and condensation of three comprehensive studies: a qualitative cross-sectional and longitudinal study of 100 American counselors (Skovholt & Ronnestad, 1992), a multinational (20 countries) survey study of 5,000 therapists (Orlinsky et al., 1999), and an intensive qualitative study (Skovholt & Jennings, 2004) comprised largely of multiple interviews with 10 peer-nominated master therapists.

Ronnestad and Skovholt identified several phases and themes of development to provide markers for understanding the professional growth of career counselors. Linked to Super’s developmental theory (Fouad; Ronnestad & Skovholt), the model of development reflects the kinds of tasks Super identified in his description of developmental stages. Semistructured interviews of 100 counselors at different experience levels of their professional lives were conducted. Then follow-up interviews were conducted with 60 of the participants, and subsequent longitudinal interviews were conducted with some of the most experienced therapists.

It is disconcerting to consider the rich professional development experience of career counselors described by Ronnestad and Skovholt in the context of the present trend toward the deprofessionalization of career counseling just described, in which counseling is increasingly separated from some career professionals’ training and work. Six phases of counselor development were identified and described by Ronnestad and Skovholt: lay helper, beginning student, advanced student, novice professional, experienced professional, and senior professional. A more detailed description of the beginning-student phase chronicled the stress of the ambiguity of professional work as a counselor (Skovholt & Ronnestad, b).

Lay helpers assume that problems are easily defined and quickly resolved with commonsense advice. However, once beyond the preprofessional phase, beginning students encounter a much more complex world filled with multiple cognitive and affective challenges, unending opportunities to learn, and often a learning process that culminates in feeling over-whelmed, highly anxious, and constantly evaluated. In search of conceptual maps that help explain human behavior and the change process, beginners often feel unbalanced as they experience what Skovholt and Ronnestad (c) referred to as the “Fragile and Incomplete Practitionerself” (p. 50). Eventually, with the help of mentors, the beginners move beyond their acute vulnerability, their glamorized dreams and idealized expectations, and begin to accept human change as complex and their ability to facilitate change in realistic terms.

Novice professionals struggle with the newly found freedom of independence from graduate school and professional preparation. At first, they strive to validate that training and then begin to feel disillusioned by the failure of that trainin to prepare them for the continually growing expectations of them from a wide-ranging set of clients. Almost without awareness, they begin to grow not only from experiences with their clients but also by developing a deeper understanding of the importance of the therapeutic relationship and by their increasing ability to regulate emotional boundaries. Experienced and senior therapists move into the more internally complex resources they have built and accumulated through their own life experiences as well as those of their clients. It is interesting that master therapists report experiences of positive learning from difficult times in their adult lives. Similarly, they report learning from professional sources other their own field, such as art, theatre, music, leisure, and spirituality. The most salient developmental growth experiences are described in a set of 14 themes (Ronnestad & Skovholt, pp. 27-37), including several that characterize professional development as a lifelong process built on continuous reflection and a deep commitment to learning.

Mastery of counseling is about more than just accumulating years of experience. It is about the optimal human development of the counselors, although not about technique mastery (Jennings, Goh, Skovholt, Hanson, & Banerjee-Stevens). Characteristics of highly developed master therapists tend to include openness to change, cultural competence, a strong drive for mastery, and a deep and abiding comfort with ambiguity.

Fouad underscored the overlap of the model emerging from Ronnestad and Skovholt’s research with Super’s career development theory. In both models, there is a clear reciprocal influence of life and work as career counselors become more and more congruent (or less and less as the case may be for some who burn out) with their work and life roles. Goodyear, Wertheimer, Cypers, and Rosemond expressed concern that experienced therapists turn to multiple sources of life experience for furthering their understanding of human behavior rather than to their home profession’s research literature and conferences. Experienced therapists were quoted in the qualitative studies as saying that they believed professional research and conferences were simply not additive, but rather preoccupied with gimmickry, techniques, and short-lived trends.

Professional Issues Summary

Ironically, at a time when evidence continues to mount that career interventions are effective, and also at a time when much has been learned about the career development of the career counselor, career counseling appears to be a profession at risk. From its social reform origins through its emergence in education, counseling, and psychology professions, career counseling has evolved to a point where it is neither claimed nor nurtured by any of these broader professions, nor has it found a home in business and industry, at least in any recognizable form. Although professional associations, such as the NCDA, have served as exceptional guardians of cherished professional standards, the quantity and quality of career counseling training continue to fall. Institutions with graduate degree programs characterized by imaginative and brilliant instruction in career counseling are outnumbered exponentially by degree programs of marginal quality and by a growing number of nonaccredited and unregulated training programs, as well as by weekend workshops hyped as professional entrees with the latest gimmickry or specialized technique, each without supervised training in career counseling. “Professionals” thus prepared may not live up to the quality of professionals chronicled by Ronnestad and Skovholt in their landmark investigations of the career development of career counselors.

Career Assessment

Cognitive Career Assessment

Gottfredson opened a special issue of the Journal of Career Assessment (Walsh, a) on cognitive career assessment with the statement, “Abilities are as important as interests in career choice and development” (p. 115), setting the stage for a series of articles on the role of multiple intelligences in career development. Gottfredson made a compelling case for considering the possibility that career counselors have given too little emphasis to the important role intelligence plays in the career development process. Pressed by various social movements over the past few decades, career counselors have developed an aversion to sharing anything but positive support for clients and have worked to help clients become whatever they want to be, even if indicators such as grades and test scores have suggested some realistic limitations. There is a growing incongruence of student expectations, skills, and workplace realities (Feller, a, b). Human cognitive abilities do differ, and most of the time those differences are indeed hierarchical in their influence on individuals’ abilities to perform certain jobs or tasks. It is not that individuals with lower intellectual ability cannot succeed; it is more the case that the struggle to succeed will be greater.

The general (g) factor. Most models of intelligence point to the overall influence of a g mental ability factor as accounting for most of the variance in individuals’ abilities to process information of any kind. Although there are other levels of measurable abilities (verbal, mathematical, and spatial) as broad categories at a second level under the g factor, and more specific intelligence factors at a third and more basic level, some of which can be enhanced, Gottfredson has held that it is the g factor that is the best overall predictor of performance in all jobs. Further, she believed that there is little evidence to support proposals that “multiple intelligences” can enable everyone to be “smart” in one way or another; “but this is not so” (p. 120). Refuting the principal theses of the articles that follow hers in the special issue, she pointed to a lack of evidence (and even evidence to the contrary) to support the existence of “practical intelligence” or “emotional intelligence” as higher order intelligence factors independent of the g factor. Regardless of the broad interest in a horizontal view of intelligence, Gottfredson held that intelligence is hierarchical. Cognitive assessment has the potential to add to the quality of career counseling because cognitive abilities at the g factor level tend to relate independently to the interest or personality measures that are the more common areas of career assessment. Informed choices are made best on the basis of integrating information from multiple sources and types. Whether or not a clear connection is seen between cognitive ability, in the form of the g factor, to job performance and job satisfaction, it is clear that Gottfredson’s reality-based career exploration approach has the potential to add to the knowledge base. Identification of obstacles enables the building of compensatory approaches and skills required for competitive pursuit of preferred career choices (Rosenbaum & Person). Obstacles do not have to mean exclusion.

Circumscription. Self-estimates, as Gottfredson has pointed out for some time, have a tendency to be inaccurate. Those who underestimate their cognitive ability tend to foreclose and circumscribe their options. Accurate estimates of cognitive ability, particularly as related to occupational areas, can increase the quality of career decision making and provide career counseling clients a guide for shoring up their competitiveness for desired career choices by building job-related compensatory skills.

Successful intelligence. Sternberg described a theory of successful intelligence that has direct implications for career choice and development. He acknowledged at the outset that memory and analytical skills, described traditionally as the g factor, play an important part in success, however defined. What makes his theoretical stance a bit different is that he placed high value, in terms of their contributions to success, on other skills as well. His triarchic model adds the two dimensions of creative and practical intelligences to the traditional analytical intelligence. Creative intelligence seems to be domain specific. Tacit knowledge or practical intelligence is what a person needs to effectively perform his or her job; it can be acquired through reflections on experience. One of Sternberg’s confirmatory studies evaluated the triarchic theory by assessing the learning outcomes of students attending a summer series of seminars wherein morning sessions were the same for everyone, but afternoon sessions were set up differentially by the model to emphasize the various learning modality preferences of memory, analytical, creative, and practical. Results demonstrated that students whose preferences matched the afternoon teaching style performed better on the outcome measures.

Emotional intelligence. Emmerling and Cherniss addressed the issue of the complex interdependence of cognition and emotional intelligence in career choice and development. Decisions are not solely cognitive and rational. Career interventions tend to be cognitive based, but few veteran career counselors would fail to recognize the powerful role emotions play in clients’ life choices. Conflicts with significant others, self-conflict, doubts about personal abilities, choice anxiety, and the general angst associated with exploding rates of change not only in the work world but also in other areas of life all combine to make the emotional side of life something that deserves more than just management. It is time, according to Emmerling and Cherniss, to acknowledge the vital role that emotion plays in career choice and development.

Career assessment of the gifted. Any career counselor who might possibly work with intellectually gifted students would be wise to consult Kerr and Sodano’s article on the career assessment and counseling challenges unique to this population. “Many of the nation’s academically talented students are making surprisingly unimaginative career choices” (p. 173). Among students who achieved perfect scores on national tests, relatively few chose majors in their area of greatest expertise, but instead chose from a rather narrow range of options, mostly majors leading to high-paying, plentiful jobs.

Multipotentiality refers to the construct that gifted youth possess a sufficiently high general intelligence that they can select from a very wide range of career options. Unfortunately, as might be imagined, high ability tends to lead to high interests across the board. Some gifted students, under pressure from parents or other adults, move toward a foreclosure of options, decide early, usually in line with practical, income-related encouragement, and then follow that early choice beyond a time of satisfaction with the choice. Such a choice reflects the long-debated relationship of passion and success. In a study (Cooper, as cited in Amundson, p. 150) of 1,500 business majors, all but 1 of the 101 eventual millionaires, 20 years later, had chosen their major on the basis of something they cared about deeply rather than on the basis of wanting to make more money. In contrast to multiple talents and interests, some gifted youth demonstrate extraordinary talent in one specific area. For these youth, the challenge for educators, parents, and career counselors is to nurture the exceptional talent and at the same time facilitate well-rounded development. Kerr and Sodano identified several specific techniques and strategies for working with the gifted, including the use of interest tests at a younger age and the use of structured groups.

Trait Complexes

Ackerman and Beier added to their program of research on identifying trait complexes comprised of identified communalities of intellectual abilities, personality characteristics, and interests. They presented a cogent argument, based on earlier meta-analytic studies and a recent factor analysis study, for improving career counseling by considering together all three of these important variables, each with its innumerable permutations, combined into complexes of traits. These trait complexes, in turn, then share communalities with career choice options.

How can ability assessment, focused as it is on a person’s maximal performance, and interest assessment, focused as it is on typical performance, be integrated to help inform career choice? Darcy and Tracey suggested that the construct of self-efficacy, or self-assessment of ability, can serve quite usefully as the bridge between maximal and typical, or ability and interest, assessment. Further, they suggested that self-efficacy estimates may have more utility than cognitive career assessments because they are more of a typical, everyday assessment of preferences–unless the general response factor (or g factor) in self-assessments biases self-estimates through a response set, social desirability, or acquiescence style. Darcy and Tracey concluded that the g factor in interest assessment can be interpreted as “flexibility” of interest, not too biasing in any given direction, and as such can be seen as a moderating influence on a person’s congruence with his or her environment. A person with a higher g factor is more satisfied and congruent.

Assessment Research

New and improved measures for use in career development research and practice continue to add significantly to the profession’s annual literature. Betz et al. expanded the Skills Confidence Inventory (SCI; Betz, Borgen, & Harmon, 1996) to assess self-efficacy regarding the Basic Interest dimensions of the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). The authors developed 17 new confidence scales, conducted initial testing with a college student sample, and conducted final scale evaluation with an employed adult sample. Coefficient alphas ranged from .84 to .94 in the college sample and from .80 to .94 in the adult sample. The scales also demonstrated concurrent validity, because there was a large difference across eight occupational groups examined.

Betz et al. found interesting differences by gender and population. Men reported higher levels of confidence on Using Technology, Mechanical, Mathematics, Science, and Data Management, and women reported higher confidence on Cultural Sensitivity, Teamwork, and Project Management, with all effect sizes d > .20. When working with clients, it is important to consider confidence and self-efficacy across a variety of dimensions because so many occupations require a diverse skill set.

In a follow-up and expansion of the developmental study, Rottinghaus, Betz, and Borgen examined the validity of the newly developed Expanded Skills Confidence Inventory (E-SCI) in a study of 715 college students by comparing E-SCI scores with the parallel 17 basic interest scales of the SII. The results demonstrated strong internal consistency, with coefficient alphas of .82 to .92. Once again, men and women showed differences in confidence levels in predicted dimensions: Men reported higher confidence on Math, Mechanical Technology, Science, and Data Management, whereas women reported higher confidence on Cultural Sensitivity, Teamwork, and Helping. Patterns of correlations with the SII’s themes and basic interest scales were very similar to the earlier study, all as predicted theoretically. Moreover, in this study, the researchers found the use of the parallel measures of confidence and interests together led to greater power over either alone in predicting educational aspirations, academic majors, and career preferences.

New Scales

Stead and Schultheiss constructed and validated the Childhood Career Development Scale, a children’s measure of career development that is based on nine dimensions of Super’s (1990) model of childhood career development (curiosity, exploration, information, key figures, locus of control, interests, time perspective, self-concept, and planfulness). A principal component analysis for Sample 1 (the sample was randomly divided into two groups) yielded 48 items that accounted for 38% of the variance and showed an internal consistency alpha of .89. Eight components were identified, leaving out only one–interests–of Super’s nine dimensions. According to Super’s conceptualization, interests usually begin to become important from age 11 on. The fact that nearly 50% of the sample was age 10 or less may help explain this result. All in all, the Childhood Career Development Scale shows excellent promise.

The Career-Related Parent Support Scale (Turner, Alliman-Brissett, Lapan, Udipi, & Ergun) was developed to assess adolescents’ perceptions of parental support in the four areas identified by Bandura (1997) as the major sources of a person’s self-efficacy: instrumental assistance (in skill development), career-related modeling, verbal encouragement, and emotional support. Factor analytic data confirmed the fit of the proposed four-factor model.

Ethical and Professional Issues in Career Assessment

The ethical and professional issues associated with career assessment on the Internet seem almost limitless. Barak opened a special issue of the Journal of Career Assessment (Walsh, c) devoted to ethical and professional issues with a brief description of the types of problems associated with at least some online career assessment. Issues of particular concern include the frequent absence of relevant psychometric data, questionable construct validity, inappropriate use of tests, invalid and incomplete interpretation profiles, privacy and confidentiality breaches, and the effects of the digital divide and other cultural limitations. Without pop-up blockers, individuals can hardly turn on a computer without being bombarded with commercial messages, many of which advertise assessments of one type or another. One current message advertises an IQ test that can supposedly tell the person taking the test online what jobs best fit his or her IQ. Although there are positive uses of online assessment, the present problems are significant not only in number but also in potential harm. Legal regulation of career assessment online is largely irrelevant because of the global nature of the Internet. International law to guide Internet use is not a reality.

Sampson, Purgar, and Shy added substance and focus to the consideration of issues pertaining to career assessment on the Internet. First, they defined the parameters: “A test is a standardized, scored, numeric measure of a fairly specific construct or behavior where meaning is related to the scores” (p. 24). This definition helps to distinguish between professional tests and measures on the Internet and those that appear to be career tests but actually are more properly termed surveys, questionnaires, or checklists. If an instrument meets the criteria and is considered a test, then professional standards in existence apply. Reflective of meta-analytic findings (Whiston, Breicheisen, & Stephens) that career outcomes are more favorably associated with career counselor involvement, as compared to counselor-free career interventions, Sampson et al. asserted that computer-based test interpretation should not replace a practitioner but be implemented by a practitioner in a consulting role, using other data as well. These authors also made the important point that the validity of a test is separate from the validity of a computer-based test interpretation.

Consumers need the assistance of professional organizations to help distinguish instruments that meet professional development and use standards from those that do not. Prince, Most, and Silver proposed the development of an honor code that could be used to help users recognize self-help tools that meet minimum professional standards. As already mentioned, Harris-Bowlsbey has called for NCDA to develop model Web sites for very similar reasons. The dramatic growth of the demand for self-help career assessment instruments is likely to continue, thereby adding to the urgency for the career counseling profession to become more aggressive in consumer protection policies and actions and more attentive to updating ethical guidelines.

Gender-sensitive career assessment. Whiston and Bouwkamp stressed the importance of knowing social, cultural, economic, and political contexts of women’s career development and how these contexts contribute to the complexity of women’s lives. Understanding the contextual complexity can help career counselors understand why, for example, girls and women tend to respond differently than do men to self-appraisal instruments. Women’s self-efficacy estimates tend to be lower, resulting often in interest profiles indicating lower interests, particularly in areas of work traditionally associated with men, when in fact such scores may simply reflect lower confidence or less familiarity. It is also important to know that social scores may be inordinately high because social attributes have long held more centrality in women’s lives. The lens of lower self-estimates applies to ability measures. Whiston and Bouwkamp recommended the use of less structured interest inventories, such as card sorts and narrative interviews, to help develop a more holistic understanding of women. Further, they speak to the need for career counselors to serve as advocates for proactive improvement of a “null environment” that so often characterizes today’s educational experience of women, wherein they may no longer experience as many sexist barriers but at the same time fail to benefit in an environment that does little to actively support or encourage them.

Multicultural assessment. Flores, Spanierman, and Obasi encouraged career counselors to set career assessment in the context of an integrated process of gathering culturally encompassing information. Starting with instruments that are appropriately normed and possess cultural validity and cultural specificity, the multiculturally competent career counselor will ensure that the administration and interpretation of the instrument are also conducted with attention and sensitivity to cultural needs.

Chung (b) provided a comprehensive framework for understanding ethical and professional issues associated with the career assessment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals. The model provides a very useful framework not only for practitioners but also for researchers and educators/trainers.

Career Assessment Summary

Career assessment has a long and storied history. Its contributions to the career counseling profession are legendary and far-reaching. Beyond all other variables in career counseling, career assessment stands out as the unique and lasting signature characteristic of the profession. The appraisal of individual differences continues to improve. Betz and her research team added significantly to the ability to measure career efficacy and its related dimensions. This year’s work on the E-SCI added greatly to the knowledge base. Gottfredson’s work is always cutting-edge quality, as is her contribution this year, extolling the virtues of including cognitive ability in the career assessment repertoire. Multicultural and cross-national career assessment studies gain in quality and quantity seemingly every year, as was the case this year. It is particularly important to note the progress apparent in this year’s literature in the increasing focus on critical issues of multiculturally competent administration and interpretation of career appraisal instruments. Further, Harris-Bowlsbey reminded the profession that advances in career assessment are commendable, but it is still necessary to help such practitioners as school counselors find the money to buy and use the instruments available now and, equally important, to find access to the curriculum so that appraisal instruments can be used proactively with all students.

Career Development

Career development articles are presented in three areas: conceptual constructs, studies of special relevance to the career development of diverse populations, and studies that cover the life span.

Conceptual Constructs

In today’s rapidly changing world, the three traditional boxes of life–learning, working, and playing–are no longer as temporally distinguishable as they may have been in the past. People do not learn something “once and for all” (Feller, a, c), nor do workers put off playing until the working years are over. In this world of omnipresent change, is career development a stable and unchanging construct? Is career development, indeed, a developmental process? Are today’s students ready to accept the Protean career the world-of-work seems to be increasingly presenting them? In other words, are they willing to commit themselves to a career that may change at will–as could the Greek mythological god, Proteus? Do they value the idea of lifelong learning, ever-present mobility, the importance of proactive self-management? Do they value a work-family balance?

According to Claes, the author of a study assessing 2,880 postsecondary students in Belgium, the answer is yes to each of these questions. In brief, members of tomorrow’s workforce accept and value the projected characteristics of tomorrow’s work. They profess to be ready to be flexible and mobile as well as committed to lifelong learning and to a life of career management.

The shift from a stable view of self and work formed in an earlier era of the “organization man” (Whyte, 1956) to a less stable, more creative view of “the new individualists” (Leinberger & Tucker, 1991) is apparent in today’s young worker. A loss of predictable career trajectories anchored by stable employing institutions has enabled workers to be more creative. In essence, each worker adopts a self-image as a product of change, a “mutable self” (Orrange).

Work ethic. In a poignant reflection on the current status of the work ethic, McCortney and Engels reminded readers of the chilling data associated with unemployment, such as dramatic increases in suicide, alcoholism, homelessness, abuse, homicide, and various mental health disorders. Work continues to contribute significantly to individuals’ sense of personal integrity and identity, yet there seems to be a not-so-subtle shift away from a commitment to the virtues of hard work and conscientiousness in a time marked by growing underemployment, outsourcing, temporary employment, and unemployment. More and more is expected of fewer and fewer. Perhaps the work ethic is indeed eroding. Career counselors will do well to pay heed to the implications of an uneasy compromise between workers and employers in an era characterized by a growing absence of reciprocal loyalty. Life roles beyond work will undoubtedly grow in significance in people’s personal identity and integrity.

Does work ethic change across career stages? Pogson, Cober, Doverspike, and Rogers examined work ethic across three career stages: the trial stage (early career), the stabilization stage (midcareer), and the maintenance stage (late career). The authors found that workers in latter stages were less willing to waste time and were more moral and ethical. Yet in a finding reflective of McCortney and Engels’s comments about a shifting work ethic, workers in the maintenance stage in the Pogson et al. study were least interested in the delay of gratification. The researchers concluded that work ethic is individual, multidimensional, and somewhat related to stage.

In a literature review covering four decades, Fox looked at the Protestant work ethic in the form of the role the church has played historically and currently in career guidance. Even though the literature showed a decline in church contributions to career guidance, the range of activities the church is providing is quite wide: decision-making classes, career exploration groups for adolescents, job transition groups, retirement planning programs, home career planning sessions, and outreach/activist programs.

Amundson offered a pithy set of truisms in his discussion of metaphoric lessons that career counselors can learn from principles of physics. For example, by applying principles of quantum uncertainty and chaos, Amundson was able to point out the relative order within disorder that occurs in career decision making. Career counselors can help clients act positively and proactively in their career choices and yet simultaneously help them hold these choices tentatively to allow unanticipated changes to become opportunities. In another example, Amundson offered the perspective of the principles of energy transfer as a metaphor for reminding career counselors of the importance of helping clients renew their energy sources because job seeking can be a draining activity. Sometimes individuals must go backward (figuratively or literally) to get the energy to go forward. Yet another example concerned the potential impact of adding one more thing to people’s full calendars. Amundson drew from the principles of magnitude and direction to make the point that an object’s speed at impact is not just additive but actually exponential. Thus, if people add one more thing to their calendars, if they tie the amount of activity in their lives into the perennial search for importance, they may be underestimating the impact on their health.

The common good. In another thoughtful essay, Guichard offered an enlightening view of the role of contexts in establishing the ultimate goals of career counseling. Emerging contexts have created a need for a new foundation of career counseling, one that remains focused on individual development but now in a broader context of human development, to meet the needs of the human community. In a world of rapid change, most notably in the form of work organization; a world with more than 1 billion adult workers who are unemployed or underemployed; and a world wherein the majority of humankind live in economic misery and poverty, it seems imperative that career development professionals move beyond an individual development model that is separate from a local community and equally separate from the larger global community. There is today a new but old context: the common good. Self-construction, commitment to the reduction of social inequalities in the form of equal access, and economic development can come together collectively if career counselors conceive of their work as “helping individuals achieve their own humanity by helping others to achieve theirs” (Guichard, p. 306).

From a similar perspective, Vilhjalmsdottir and Arnkelsson reported a study of the application of habitus theory to career development. The central construct of habitus theory is that a person is socially embedded, construing and constructing experiences and then organizing those experiences structurally in such a way that future experiences are influenced by that socially embedded structure. On the basis of a cluster analysis of results from an administration of a survey questionnaire to 911 adolescents, the authors identified five habitus groups formed primarily on gender, activity level, and music preferences as related to career preferences. The relevance of the clustering, and thus the construct of habitus, is that individuals are socially embedded, even when it comes to developing occupational preferences.

Popova examined the cultural influences that have affected career guidance in Russia over the last several decades as dramatic economic, political, and cultural changes have contributed to teachers taking new approaches to preparing youth for employment. She found the principle that an individual does not manage his or her thinking about career alone but in the context of others to be a cross-generational message. Teachers still feel a responsibility for guiding youth, but in a more holistic, future-oriented fashion rather than in the more controlled and directed manner of the past.

Career Development of Diverse Populations

Career development of Native Americans. Even though unemployment hovers between 25% and 50% in Native American reservations and communities, there has been little research devoted to understanding the career development process of Native American adolescents. Turner and Lapan (b) reported on their theory-based (Social Cognitive Career Theory [SCCT]) study designed to compare the environmental barriers and supports as related to career self-efficacy expectations and career interests of a group of Native American adolescents (n = 120), in contrast to a comparison group of Caucasian adolescents (n = 134). Results demonstrated strong similarity of the two groups, particularly in the direct relationship of perceived parental support and confidence to succeed. Results seemed to suggest that there may be a broadening of interests throughout the Holland categories among Native American adolescents.

Career development of African Americans. Barrett, Cervero, and Johnson-Bailey examined the career development experiences of Black human resource developers employed in White organizations. Faced with challenges of being outsiders within traditional organizations and having limited access to mentors as well as facing prejudicial treatment from supervisors, discriminatory organizational practices, isolation from internal networks, and growing pressures from increasingly important work roles, these workers demonstrated a resilience and strength built on bicultural skills and strategies for managing various aspects of their lives. One response of these Black human resource developers working in a predominantly White world was to immerse themselves into primarily Black lives away from work.

Carter, Scales, Juby, Collins, and Wan examined the experiences of a culturally diverse group of students (N = 1,051) who sought counseling services at a university career services center. The dimensions of referral, process, and outcome were compared by race/ethnicity of clients. Regardless of race or ethnicity, students came to career centers for help with academic majors (77% to 84%) or career exploration (13% to 14%). Counselors perceived outcomes to be less favorable for Blacks than Whites (30% of Blacks were assessed as having “no perceivable change” as compared with 18% for Whites). Further, the majority of clients came for only one session, and Black clients appeared to be the most likely to terminate after one session, with Asian clients the least likely to terminate.

Career development of women. Mau used a database from the National Center for Educational Statistics to study the persistence of students who expressed an initial interest in science and engineering careers in the eighth grade. Of the 827 students who had aspired to science and engineering careers in the eighth grade, only 176 (22%) continued with the same aspirations 6 years later. Math self-efficacy and academic proficiency, in that order, were the most significant predictors for persistence in science and engineering aspirations. Consistent with SCCT tenets, internal estimates were more powerful in shaping behavior than external confirmation (grades and scores).

In another study focusing on women, Battle and Wigfield explored college students’ values related to family, career, and higher education. Results suggested that college women are aware of whether they do or do not need graduate education to meet their life goals and that they believe that both family and career roles are possible. It is interesting that Battle and Wigfield found that the intrinsic-attainment value (enjoyment and reward) associated with attending graduate school was the strongest predictor of college women’s plans to attend.

Women in law. Krakauer and Chen explored the continuing gender barriers that confront women in the legal profession. Although significant strides have been made in the relative number of women admitted to the practice of law, women continue to be underrepresented in law firm practice and overrepresented in the public and social sectors, and moreover, they leave law in much larger numbers than do men.

Baker investigated individual differences in the top-income quintile of law graduates, offering two different models to explain differences in attainment: a “glass ceiling” model (i.e., the individual’s attainment is limited by a third-party force) and a “sticky floor” model (i.e., the individual’s attainment is affected by self-imposed limitations, including marriage and family-related choices). Results indicated that experience in the field, employment in a nongovernment sector, and number of hours worked per week were the most significant predictors of earning within the top-income quintile for lawyers. These findings supported the sticky floor model, indicating that self-imposed factors may be more important in predicting discrepancies among lawyers’ earnings than are limitations imposed by outside forces, although self-imposed hardly seems an appropriate term.

Non-college-educated women. Mastracci pointed out a discrepancy between career preparation offered for noncollege individuals and the preparation offered for college individuals. To offset the lack of preparation, she suggested that employment in nontraditional occupations may offer women the best opportunity to boost their earning potential. Her findings indicated that “holding a nontraditional occupation increases the likelihood of earning at least 125% of median earnings for noncollege women and men” (p. 597) and that the magnitude of being employed in a nontraditional occupation is greater for women than for men. According to Mastracci, “holding a nontraditional occupation increases a noncollege woman’s chance of falling into the high wage category by 48.66%” (p. 587).

Robinson, Davis, and Meara explored the influence of possible occupational selves (personalized images of future selves) on rural women’s perceptions of the likelihood of personal goal achievement. None contributed to avoiding the worst self. The most disturbing finding was that the women believed that avoiding their most feared self (e.g., fast-food cook) was significantly less likely than achieving their most desired self.

Lesbian career development. In a study of the relationships of lesbian identity development, lesbian career development, and perceptions of campus climate, Tomlinson and Fassinger found that campus climate is more predictive of lesbian career development than is sexual identity development. The study used innovative methodology to collect data in a confidential manner.

Career development of disadvantaged persons. Kossek, Huber, and Lerner examined mothers on public assistance to determine whether imposing a government mandate to be in a welfare-to-work program or risk losing benefits affected the individual’s propensity to seek employment and whether such a mandate influenced the individual’s well-being. Results indicated that the government mandate did not affect mothers’ labor market activity or well-being. Threats of punitive actions seem less effective than proactive attempts at inclusion.

Turner and Lapan (a) studied the career interests of inner-city, at-risk adolescents compared with middle-class suburban adolescents. The researchers compared two starkly contrasting socioeconomic groups: one with only 1% of suburban families living in poverty, the other with 96% of inner-city families living in poverty. They found no socioeconomic difference in career interests across four of Holland’s types/environments. However, on the Enterprising and Conventional themes, the socioeconomic groups differed by degree of complexity of their construals of the relationships of the two thematic sets of interests, with suburban adolescents being more complex.

Career development of persons with disabilities. The majority of adults with disabilities are unemployed, and those who are employed face increasing performance pressures and less stability (Szymanski & Vancollins). Kennedy and Harris chronicled a dramatic decline from 1991 to 2000 in the employment of workers with severe disabilities. Tragic increases in unemployment (up to 76%) often accompany downturns in the economy, making it even more difficult than usual to find employment for this group. Athanasou’s (a) study reviewing return-to-work rates of 1,010 workers with acquired brain injuries found (when combining several data sets) that only 7% to 10% returned to their same jobs and that only 44% returned to work.

Studies of patients experiencing traumatic injuries (Kendall & Murphy; A. E. Young & Murphy) suggested that problem-solving assistance should be provided, as well as small groups for support. Early intervention was determined to be critical because the individual’s general attitude at the time of leaving the hospital remained fairly constant. Moreover, they found that work adjustment at first included support and feelings of self-efficacy, but that as time after release increases, self-efficacy goes down and the desire for others’ support decreases. In the long run, adjustment comes from within.

Because self-employment for people with disabilities is so appealing, many choose to pursue the task of starting their own businesses. Unfortunately, few have obtained any relevant training for starting businesses or have career counselors helping them. Arnold, Seekins, Ipsen, and Colling provided a systematic primer for people with disabilities interested in starting their own business. The primer offers a process whereby counselors can help aspiring self-employed individuals focus on critical issues.

HIV/AIDS career clients. On the basis of in-depth qualitative analyses of interviews wherein sessions were taped, transcribed, “chunked,” and categorized, Hunt, Jaques, Niles, and Wierzalis identified career concerns of workers with HIV/AIDS. Poignant themes within the career concerns include issues at the workplace, medical issues, and new stresses on coping resources. HIV/AIDS clients face a shift in career goals, struggles with career self-efficacy, financial needs, treatment management dilemmas, disclosure decisions, and a myriad other specific concerns that affect their health and their work.

Career Development Over the Life Span

Career development is a process that takes place throughout life. Representative studies are presented here in organizational ages and stages: youth/adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood, and older adulthood. An overview of the studies reported in this section reveals a fairly consistent endorsement of the importance of self-efficacy in career development. A person’s appraisal of self and personal estimates of his or her chances for success combine to influence much of his or her own behavior, whether that behavior is career preparatory, career exploratory, or career performance.

Youth/adolescents. Rojewski and Kim used a longitudinal database to examine the occupational aspirations, work experiences, and vocational preparation experiences of work-bound and college-bound youth. They found that socioeconomic status had significant influence on both occupational aspirations and postsecondary transition status. Two thirds of the work-bound or “unemployed/out of the work force” youth were from the lowest two socioeconomic groups. In contrast, adolescents in the highest socioeconomic group were 4 times more likely to be college bound. Work-bound youth had shown as early as the eighth grade that they had lower aspirations, lower academic performance records, and lower self-concepts; only 15% of work-bound youth had enrolled in any vocational training or work-preparation courses.

Pinquart, Juang, and Silbereisen examined the impact of academic self-efficacy in adolescence on early adult unemployment and job satisfaction. Individuals with higher self-efficacy beliefs and better academic performance were less likely to become unemployed and were more likely to report higher levels of job satisfaction in young adulthood. Similarly, Hoi, Keng-Howe, and Fie found that Singaporean youth with higher self-esteem preferred to find jobs on their own without using family sources or support and that these youth preferred to rely on direct applications and career talks. For those with confidence, individual action was prized.

Young adults. In a longitudinal study of college seniors, Moynihan, Roehling, LePine, and Boswell examined the relationship between job search self-efficacy, number of interviews, and number of job offers. Findings indicated that job search self-efficacy is positively related to the total number of job offers received, as well as to the number of offers received from a preferred employer. Job search self-efficacy also influenced the relationship between the number of interviews and the total number of offers. These findings suggested that students who were higher in self-efficacy focused their search more carefully and experienced a higher interview-to-offer ratio.

Barnett, Gareis, James, and Steele explored college students’ ideas about balancing career and family roles. The authors examined the relationships among growing up in a home in which the mother worked, students’ expectations about their own family planning, and students’ concerns about conflict between work and marriage. Findings indicated that college seniors whose mothers worked were less concerned about future career-marriage conflict than were those whose mothers did not work and that those students who planned to delay their own marriage and family formation were less concerned than were those who planned to start families sooner.

Adults. In a creative research design, Athanasou (e) studied job choice determinants of unemployed individuals presented with 25 randomly selected advertisements of job openings. The findings, which were reported in the form of nine separate case studies, reflected that job choices were highly idiosyncratic and nonreflective of career development theories or decision-making models. Choices seemed to reflect lack of insight, use of very few cues, and a predominant valuing of the prospects of getting the job. Interest may follow, not lead.

Angerer presented a concise, definitive descriptive of job burnout. With today’s work environment often requiring additional hours and performance intensity, it is easy for workers to feel overloaded, stretched, and unappreciated. Progressively, workers can feel increasingly exhausted and, as a result, begin to build up a sense of depersonalization and, finally, inefficacy.

Pines and Nunes examined the reciprocal impact of burnout in the relationship of love and work in an international/multicultural study of couples. These researchers found significant correlations between measures of career burnout and couple burnout. Interpreting the empirical findings in the context of psychoanalytic and existentialist perspectives, the authors concluded that couples often come to counseling confused as to the source of their burnout, often reporting dissatisfaction with one when it turns out to be the other. The value of the study is in promoting consideration of the relationship of two major tasks of life–love and work–by looking at the underlying issues that tie the two tasks together.

It is obvious that changing times have influenced the workplace in numerous ways. Lawrence and Corwin focused on the growing body of professionals engaged in part-time employment. These authors presented several benefits of part-time professional employment, and they also enumerated unique challenges associated with such employment, including ambiguity between work time and home time and social issues arising from working less than full-time.

Older adults. Collins suggested that the stereotypical and theoretical conceptions of retirement are no longer viable. Describing the confluence of several social, economic, and physical health trends, Collins pointed to the growing numbers of workers who do not consider themselves to be in a “decline,” “deceleration,” or “disengagement” phase of life, but rather in one that affords them opportunities to live lives that matter doing meaningful work.

Mutchler, Burr, and Caro found no relationship between paid employment status and informal volunteering (i.e., helping a neighbor or friend); individuals who are engaged in less than full-time employment are more likely to volunteer in later life. Findings supported the “activity substitution argument,” which suggests that as paid workforce participation decreases, volunteering increases.

In his study of early retirees, Davis examined the individual characteristics that contribute to an individual’s involvement in bridge employment (i.e., part-time, temporary, or entrepreneurial work following the end of long-term career involvement). Apparently, age was a significant predictor of bridge employment, with older individuals being less likely to engage in bridge employment than younger individuals. Women in Davis’s study were less likely than men to engage in bridge employment.

A qualitative study completed by Price suggested that four key factors seem to influence professional women’s satisfaction with retirement. First, women who viewed retirement as satisfying had expanded their former work roles to new tasks in retirement. Second, they had worked to maintain a strong self-concept. Many of the women reported that use of their professional skills helped to bolster their feelings of self-efficacy. Also important to the women in Price’s study was a gradual establishment of a routine, after a period of relaxation and travel. Seventy-one percent of participants indicated that self-imposed structure was beneficial to their retirement satisfaction. Further, community involvement was an important factor in women’s retirement satisfaction, with 86% of participants reporting that their volunteer work and community involvement had positively influenced their adjustment to retirement. It is interesting that women in Price’s study reported that, on the whole, the transition to retirement was easier than other life transitions they had experienced.

Career Development Summary

It is apparent from the 2003 literature that fundamental elements of work are undergoing dramatic change. What stands out is the limited attention in the literature to issues of central importance to career development. One or two studies examined nearly every issue of importance, but one or two hardly seem enough when the challenges seem so great. Clearly, career counseling professionals have not yet extended career development assistance in any systemic way downward in age when a single study pertaining to elementary school-aged children is reported in the literature. Career development continues to be a low priority of school systems, although innovative strategies for improving career development programs were outlined in a 2003 special issue of Professional School Counseling (Feller, b, c). Although some studies of adolescents are included in the present review, they pale in number in relation to the extent of the challenge. Career guidance programs deserve a place in the curriculum, and school counselors need to be trained to deliver all potential components of the comprehensive programs (Carnevale & Desrochers; Feller, a, c; Harris-Bowlsbey).

We, as career development professionals, also have not successfully extended programs to persons with socioeconomic disadvantages or persons with disabilities or those who suffer from traumatic injuries. Equity and equality of access to employment and successful adjustment to a rapidly changing work world development continue to represent major challenges. Evidence abounds that there is a need to do more than simply establish a “null environment” (Whiston & Brecheisen, 2002) in which overt discrimination and other barriers to achievement are removed. We need to actively support and encourage children, adolescents, and adults if they are going to be confident and prepared to participate successfully in a world-of-work that changes constantly.

Career Development Theory

Several authors expanded understanding of theoretical perspectives in the field through theory-focused research. As is the case in most years, the 2003 literature included a substantive set of studies related to career development theory, but in 2003 there seemed to be a wider range of theories considered. Studies associated with traditional theories represented a major portion of the literature, and yet a goodly number of excellent studies investigated various aspects of new and emerging theories as well as theories not always tied to career development and career counseling. In addition, studies related to exciting new ideas and propositions might be referred to more appropriately as theoretical constructs or frameworks rather than as theories.

Holland’s Theory

Helwig added to the literature a longitudinal study of the relative stability of children’s interests from Grades 2 through 12, as measured in Holland typologies. The structure of interests in children has been an elusive construct over the years, but Helwig has shown in this 10-year study that about 25% of those interviewed at six different ages showed significant stability of interests. Yet his data also reflected wide variability, in that the majority of the students showed “opposite” code preferences on at least one of the six data collection points. Nonetheless, by Grades 10 and 12, identical or consistent types were noted in 71% of the boys and 42% of the girls. As a group, the interviewees showed consistency and stability from Grade 2 to Grade 12, leading Helwig to conclude that, on a group basis, 2nd-grade expressions of interest predict 12th-grade interests. However, the wide variability in individuals’ interests suggested that prediction on a personal basis would be risky.

M.J. Miller and Bass examined the degree of congruency between the Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes classification of a nonprofessional occupation with the classification that actual workers employed in the job assigned, using the Position Classification Inventory. The Iachan Index, a statistical procedure for determining congruence of scores with three-letter codes, yielded results considered “reasonably close” and “very close.” No gender differences were found.

Holland typologies and assessment instruments were used widely in settings ranging from offender facilities (Glaser, Calhoun, Bates, & Bradshaw) to schools (Kerr & Sodano). Tracey applied the concept of traitedness to RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional) interest data in a sample of high school seniors, concluding that several aspects of traitedness could serve as mediators between interest–occupation fit and career certainty.

Roe’s Theory

Hughes and Thomas established a strong case for considering the importance of parental involvement in children’s career development. Building on the theoretical contributions of Roe (1956) and Super (1953), and research findings of Blustein and others, the authors described very practical ways in which practitioners can proactively involve children and parents together. One such suggestion was a program by Amundson and Penner (1998) called Parent Involvement in Career Exploration, in which adolescents and their parents participated in structured discussions about preferences and plans.


Chronister and McWhirter applied SCCT to the empowerment of battered women. Career counseling tends to take a back seat, if any seat at all, in work with battered women. The same is apparently true in the professional literature, where the authors found only four articles in a review of 40 years of reported research. At best, intervention has been restricted to a short-term crisis intervention approach that belies the natural connection of women’s economic self-sufficiency and their empowerment to leave abusive relationships. Self-efficacy expectations, outcome expectations, and personal goals are three career-related behaviors (and SCCT constructs) that are most amenable to empowerment interventions with domestic violence victims. These behavior-change goals align well with McWhirter’s (1997) recommendations for empowerment interventions: collaboration, context, competence, critical consciousness, and community.

One of the most important findings of Nauta and Epperson’s partial test of the SCCT in a 4-year longitudinal study of 204 young women who had shown an interest in science, math, and engineering (SME) careers was that “students’ self-efficacy expectations may be based to some degree on actual ability” (p. 454). Self-efficacy expectations and outcome expectations were related to choice of SME majors. Because of the important role that science interests seem to play in SME choices, the authors recommended early intervention in the form of science interest-enhancing activities for young women.

Another study of the SCCT compared a “direct paths” model of influence of contextual factors (supports and barriers) on a person’s goals and actions with a “mediated paths” model that envisions the influence of contextual factors to be more indirect and to be mediated by a person’s efficacy beliefs and personal goals (Lent, Brown, Schmidt, et al.). The basic design actually compared SCCT to Bandura’s general social cognitive theory. Results suggested that the link between contextual factors and personal goals and actions is indirect, through self-efficacy beliefs. It is interesting that self-efficacy was found to be predictive of outcome expectations (accounting for 58% of the variance) and interests (accounting for 38% of the variance), but outcome expectations failed to explain variance in interests beyond self-efficacy.

Rottinghaus, Larson, and Borgen conducted a meta-analysis of 60 independent samples to determine whether self-efficacy and interest are sufficiently different to have unique effects on occupational selection across all six Holland themes. The core analyses included 53 (n = 37,829) of the 60 samples. Measures used in the studies included the SCI (Betz et al., 1996), the SII (Harmon, Hansen, Borgen, & Hammer, 1994), and the Campbell Interest and Skills Survey (CISS; Campbell, Hyne, & Nilsen, 1992), along with more specialized measures such as the Mathematics Self-Efficacy Scale (Betz & Hackett, 1983) and Betz and Hackett’s (1981) original self-efficacy/gender scale.

Rottinghaus, Larson, et al. reported an average effect size for the correlation between self-efficacy and interests of .59. The authors reported that, among RIASEC dimensions, Investigative had the strongest effect (r = .68) and Enterprising the weakest (r = .50). Rottinghaus, Larson, et al. concluded that “there appears to be a moderate relationship between self-efficacy and interests. Overall, self-efficacy and vocational interests share approximately one-third of their variance” (p. 231). Further, the authors concluded that “The one moderator that clearly matters is instrumentation…. It is especially notable that the self-efficacy/interest relationships between the RIASEC domains are significantly stronger when measured by the CISS compared to the SII/SCI” (p. 231).

Super’s Theory

Power and Rothausen developed the Work-Oriented Midcareer Development Model in an effort to transform the organizationally determined model of Super’s (1953, 1994) maintenance stage worker with a more individually directed career development structure that fits today’s shift to mobile, boundaryless, Protean careers constructed by the individual. The model asks midcareer workers to move away from thinking of work as a job in an organization to thinking of work more in terms of subjective and objective definitions, above and beyond an organization. Once work is defined, the worker then attempts to answer the question about whether this work may continue to exist, and if so, what skills and knowledge will be required to perform the work. Both of these steps require the individual to acquire information outside the confines of his or her present organization. For Power and Rothausen, in a way reminiscent of options Schein (1978) once referred to as “career anchors,” midcareer workers define themselves in terms of career directions rather than in terms of specific roles. In a developmental or multilevel model of midcareer development, Power and Rothausen identified three levels. In the first, job-oriented level, the worker defines work in the context of the present job and organization. At the second level, which is more reflective of Super’s original description of the maintenance stage, the worker focuses on maintaining gained responsibilities and abilities, although in this model the worker’s definition is broadened to include other organizations. The third and final level is the work growth level. As its title suggests, the focus of the midcareer worker here is on a commitment not to maintaining but to growing and changing.

In the first of a set of responses to the model, Arbona acknowledged several potential strengths of Power and Rothausen’s model but criticized it for an overemphasis on the individual worker’s personal control over his or her own work destinies. Similarly, Betz wondered about the applicability of the model to women, workers of color, midcareer workers of other cultures, and workers at nonprofessional levels of work. Swanson was also concerned about such a restricted focus on a subset of workers. Furthermore, she criticized the model’s lack of foundational research and theory.

In a study connected to Super’s theory (in that it combined the construct of vocational self-concept and the developmental task of crystallization to use “self-concept crystallization” as a mediator variable in a complex structural equation model to investigate the nature of the possible relationships of psychological separation and attachment security with career indecision), Tokar, Withrow, Hall, and Moradi found sufficient support to conclude that “movement toward psychological independence from mother and psychological connection to father are associated with a clearer, more certain view of oneself in relation to the world of work” (p. 15). Although this study was fascinating in its hypotheses and its structural equation modeling, according to the authors some of the results, particularly the parental separation inverse relationship to vocational self-concept crystallization, made “little theoretical sense” (p. 15). It is possible, as Blustein articulated in a follow-up comment, that the sophistication of the methodology may go beyond the theory. Blustein also questioned the relationship of the mediator variable (self-concept crystallization) and the dependent variable (career indecision), speculating that the two could just as easily be reversed theoretically. Which influences which? Tokar, Hall, and Moradi’s rejoinder offered a tighter definition and further description of the two variables and provided additional empirical analyses as evidence that the two constructs are indeed distinct.

Jepsen and Dickson presented the results of a longitudinal study inspired by Super’s (1994) life-space, life-span developmental theory. The present study compared early “exploratory” stage-specific developmental task behaviors to later “maintenance” stage coping behaviors of a group of 146 workers first assessed in the ninth grade and followed up 29 years later. “We conclude that mastery of cognitive career exploration coping behavior, especially choice clarity, seemed to be linked, albeit weakly, with self-reported mastery of occupational establishment coping behaviors” (p. 230). The results underscore the importance of early career intervention.

In another longitudinal study, Jepsen and Sheu found no significant relationship between job satisfaction and occupational choices first identified in a sample of 12th graders, measured 7 years later, and finally assessed 25 years after high school. Congruence did not seem to add to general job satisfaction regardless of developmental stage, yet personality factors, as reflected in Holland types, contributed significantly to job satisfaction. “Respondents who chose Social occupations at age 25 tended to report higher age 43 job satisfaction than did respondents who chose Realistic occupations” (p. 177). In general, workers in Social, Enterprising, and Conventional jobs reported higher satisfaction than those in Realistic occupations. Further, differences found between age 25 and age 43 suggested that job satisfaction becomes more predictable in the midcareer developmental stage than in the establishment stage.

Creed and Patton (b) studied the construct of career maturity, an important variable within Super’s theory of career development. Using a comprehensive battery, they assessed the relative career maturity of 367 Australian high school students across five grade levels (8 to 12). Predictor variables for career maturity attitude included self-efficacy, age, career decidedness (certainty), and work commitment, collectively accounting for 52% of the variance. Career maturity knowledge predictors, however, included additional variables–gender and career decidedness (indecision)–and did not include self-efficacy in accounting for 41% of the variance. In general, the results supported Super’s theoretical perspective of a developmental progression in career maturity. Moreover, young women seemed better informed about career-related knowledge.

Hite and McDonald explored the career aspirations and career planning strategies used by a group of 26 nonmanagerial women. Data revealed a pattern of adjustment and adaptation to life circumstances that suggested other life roles were typically higher priorities, reflective in part of Super’s (1994) multiple life roles Career Rainbow.

Gottfredson’s Theory

Blanchard and Lichtenberg tested Gottfredson’s (1996) theory among college students by creating a computer-based questionnaire used to assess students’ attitudes toward specific occupations (i.e., Acceptable, Uncertain, or Unacceptable). After offering their impressions of the various occupations, participants were randomly placed by the computer program into a condition of low, moderate, or high compromise and were instructed to rank occupations based on their assigned level of compromise. Findings indicated that individuals who face a minor compromise were generally inclined to satisfy their interests first, followed by prestige, and then sex type. For individuals facing either a moderate or a major compromise, sex type and prestige were equally important; for those facing a major compromise, both of these variables were more important than interests. Overall, Blanchard and Lichtenberg reported that men in their study fit Gottfredson’s theory well, whereas women offered support for some aspects of the theory. The authors concluded that “it appears that the extent of [interests’] importance depends on the level of compromise one faces when making a career choice” (p. 270).


McMahon, Patton, and Watson provided guidelines for developing creative qualitative assessment processes. In one of the more practitioner-oriented articles of 2003, the authors framed several specific assessment processes, such as lifelines, genograms, card sorts, biographic life stories, and structured interviews within constructivist theory.

C. P. Chen presented an interesting integration of a range of constructs from objectivist/positivist theories and constructivist theories. A framework of three broad constructs (career as self-realization, career as growing experiences, and career as context conceptualization) provides the basis for an integrative approach. Narrative language helps objective data find a more holistic use in this integrated career counseling style.

Christensen and Johnston used a narrative approach in career counseling because of its value in facilitating clients’ use of both objective and subjective data. A career story is naturally connective. Narrative conveys the meaning that the author of the story gives the story and enables that meaning to contain all the richness of the person who has authored the story and is playing the primary role in it.

Relational Theory

Schultheiss connected the quality of relationships in life to career development through an extension of relational theory to career counseling in one of 2003’s most additive, innovative, and conceptually informative contributions to the professional literature. The relational approach to career counseling offers an exciting new emphasis on the interconnectedness of life roles and relationships. It is naturally holistic and integrative. Its value is not only in content but also in process, in that it emphasizes the quality of the therapeutic relationship in career counseling.

In a long overdue shift from an information-based career counseling exchange, Schultheiss contributed the idea of the reciprocal impact of the career counseling relationship as being central to goal achievement, even if and when the goal is information sharing. The relevance of this approach to the growing concern about the level and nature of career counseling education and preparation is obvious and noteworthy. Building on the foundation of her own program of research (Schultheiss & Blustein, 1994a, 1994b), as well as that of Blustein and others (Blustein & Palladino, 1991; Blustein, Prezioso, & Schultheiss, 1995; Blustein, Walbridge, Friedlander, & Palladino, 1991), and also on earlier theoretical influences of feminist theory, attachment theory, and social psychological theories, Schultheiss made a persuasive case for augmenting and enriching traditional career theory with the constructs and techniques of relational theory.

Developmental Contextual Theory

In a coordinated set of two studies of the relationship of perceived barriers and perceived supports with school engagement and vocational attitudes among ninth-grade urban students, Kenny, Blustein, Chaves, Grossman, and Gallagher found that family support and family barriers were significantly related to students’ school commitment and career aspirations. Developmental contextual theory provides a framework for understanding a person’s behavior in the context of a reciprocal and dynamic relationship of the individual, the individual’s social environment, and the individual’s construction of meanings relative to that environment. Thus, the results of the two studies, namely that students with higher family support and lower perceived barriers engaged school more fully and also expressed higher career aspirations, evidence the significant contributions relational support makes in the lives of ninth-grade urban youth.

Psychoanalytic Theory

Psychoanalysis contributes to career development theory by adding the dimension of unconscious determinants of career choice. “People choose an occupation that enables them to replicate significant childhood experiences, fulfill needs that were unfulfilled in their childhood, and actualise dreams passed on to them by their familial heritage” (Malach-Pines, pp. 8-9). Identification with key family figures can influence the choice of career, the content of the career, and the expectations of self in relation to the career. Unrealized expectations of work can lead to burnout. Instead of healing a metaphoric wound of childhood, work can reenact it and thus lead to burnout. Malach-Pines used a vocational genogram to help clients gain insight into the contributions of family-of-origin issues to their career choices and about their frustrations with their failures to achieve their expectations.

Existential Theory

In an interesting essay published 2003, Cohen applied the principles of existentialism to career counseling as exemplified in the work of Kierkegaard and Frankl. In words strikingly similar to Super’s early descriptions of career development as a process wherein a person is seen as implementing sets of self-concepts through choices, Cohen described Kierkegaard’s view of career development thusly: “[I]n an attempt to be authentic, he believed that individuals would gravitate toward careers that are consistent with their view of themselves and help them grow toward their personal potential” (p. 201). In this view, efforts to lead an authentic existence are critically related to career choice. Similarly, Cohen pointed to Frankl’s construct of “will to meaning” as the universal effort of all humans to avoid meaninglessness in life by finding purpose. Cohen’s four-stage model of existential career counseling starts with helping clients assume the responsibility for a career decision, moves through the evaluation of the degree to which career choices honor meaning and authenticity, and finishes with action and the evaluation of the action. In a brief commentary, Athanasou (d) reminded career counselors of the value and applicability of Frankl’s existential/logotherapy emphasis on searching for meaning in life. Helping individuals find direction and purpose through task achievement and meaningful work is indeed a noble calling.

Self-Determination Theory

Self-determination theory holds that psychological well-being is a product of three basic needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The theory suggests that career decision is predicted by the degree to which individuals have developed a sense of competence and autonomy through interactions with peers and parents. If parents and peers are more controlling and less supportive of autonomy, individuals are less likely to develop feelings of efficacy and autonomy and more likely to be career indecisive. Guay, Senecal, Gauthier, and Fernet showed in a structural equation model that peers’ autonomy support is linked positively to self-efficacy and autonomy over and above parental influence. They also found that peers’ controlling behaviors are negatively related. Thus, peers can be helpful or harmful.

Chaos Theory

After a decade or more of manuscripts reviewing the possible contributions of chaos theory to counseling and psychology, it seemed inevitable that chaos theory would be applied to career counseling. Pryor and Bright have done so in an article extolling the virtues of a theory that is systemic, organic, complex, orderly, and continuously changing. Starting with the perspective that current theories are too reductionistic and individually encapsulated, Pryor and Bright made a case for a holistic view of a person’s career as an ever-changing contextual and systemic construction.

Career Theory Summary

There is a richness in the depth and breadth of the studies reviewed in this section that can come only from a mixture of the old and the new. Good theory leads to good research, and sometimes to good practice. Often the studies shared in the other sections of this annual review are theory based as well and could have been inserted into this section, but the collection of studies offered herein provide a broad perspective of the theories discussed in the 2003 literature.

There is something quite satisfying about sinking into Jepsen and colleagues’ (Jepsen & Dickson; Jepsen & Sheu) longitudinal studies of Super’s developmental tasks and life stages and also into Helwig’s longitudinal studies exploring the stability of Holland’s typologies. Longitudinal studies provide opportunities for effectively merging quantitative and qualitative research designs. It is also quite stimulating to jump into the comparatively new territories of Schultheiss’s relational theory and the program of research that has led to work in developmental contextual theory. Constructivism and the related narrative constructs and approaches also offer exciting possibilities for practitioners. Savickas is possibly the profession’s best scientist-practitioner mix, in that he adds so much to theory and practice of constructivism and the narrative theory by displaying his own approach comprised of Adler’s individual psychology constructs and Super’s developmental approaches. Fortunately, he occasionally offers demonstrations of his applied integration in conferences. One of the more heuristic models is, of course, the SCCT. All in all, a broad range of traditional theories–as well as emerging theories and theoretical frameworks–is represented in the 2003 literature.

Career Interventions

Outcome Research

Whiston (b) and Whiston et al. introduced a Journal of Vocational Behavior (Whiston, c) special section on career interventions with a comprehensive meta-analysis of career intervention outcome studies reported in the literature from 1975 to 2000. Only 57 studies met their criteria: a comparison of two or more career interventions, involving random assignments to the interventions, and a reporting of statistics sufficient to calculate effect size. The authors set the criteria of random assignment and direct comparison of treatment modalities to begin the process of extending and reconciling the inconsistent and sometimes discrepant results reported in earlier meta-analytic studies in which effect sizes ranged from a strong .82 (Oliver & Spokane, 1988), to a moderate .45 (Whiston, Sexton, & Lasoff, 1998), and to a relatively more moderate and less robust .34 (S. D. Brown & Ryan Krane, 2000). Even given the range of effect sizes, determined in part by differing criteria and methodology or somewhat differing timelines and corresponding data sets, there is little doubt that career interventions have been demonstrated to be effective. However, without direct comparisons it is difficult to determine whether career classes (Oliver & Spokane, 1988), individual career counseling (Whiston et al., 1998), or group career counseling (S. D. Brown & Ryan Krane, 2000) have the most outcome potential.

Results of Whiston et al. were most pronounced in their finding that counselor-free career interventions are significantly less effective than those that involve a counselor. Another significant finding was that workshops or structured group interventions produced stronger results than unstructured career groups. Caution in interpretation of the results is warranted because of the small numbers (one to four studies were used in roughly two thirds of the treatment modality comparisons). A general absence of descriptive data about treatments, not only in the meta-analysis study but also apparently in the original studies, constitutes another important caveat. When reported, treatment intensity or integrity was defined largely in terms of number and length of sessions with virtually no attention to process variables or treatment quality.

It is interesting that comparisons of counselor-free interventions with other types of counselor-free interventions constituted the largest percentage of studies reported over the last 25 years. It seems plausible that such extensive inquiry is a product of the present economic era in which there is a growing focus on the pursuit of cost-effective intervention methods. A somewhat disturbing, or at least disconcerting, finding of the Whiston et al. 25-year review was a trend of decreasing career outcome research, with the majority of studies conducted prior to 1985. Even more trouble-some were several methodological concerns, such as the excessive use of nonstandardized questionnaires and measures in outcome studies. Standardized outcomes measures were used in only 36% of the studies. Other methodological concerns include the relative absence of basic reliability estimates of measures used in half of the studies. Further, the relatively indiscriminant and excessive use of outcome measures (as many as 32 in one study) is quite troubling.

In the second article of the special section, S. D. Brown, Ryan Krane, et al. reported a reanalysis of the database that Ryan (1999) and S. D. Brown and Ryan Krane (2000) created and analyzed in their previous meta-analyses of career intervention studies. Based on their earlier identification of five specific intervention components that contributed significantly to career choice outcomes regardless of treatment format, and a further finding that combinations of the five yielded even larger effects, S. D. Brown, Ryan Krane, et al. tested the possibility that the linear increase in career choice outcome might be merely a result of the more-of-anything-is-better phenomenon instead of the critical components. In a creative reanalysis of the original studies, wherein they manipulated the inclusion or exclusion of varying combinations of the 5 critical components as well as 14 other components, they were able to conclude that the critical ingredients, not number or combination of noncritical components, were indeed the contributors to effect size. Incorporating these new findings into selected theory and research, S. D. Brown, Ryan Krane, et al. developed and presented the hypothesis that the effectiveness of career interventions delivered in any format (e.g., counseling, groups, classes) will be improved by including the following five critical ingredients:

1. Workbooks that include assignments and written exercises such as goal setting

2. In-session information-seeking and processing opportunities, preferably with counselor’s assistance

3. Assessment feedback from a professional, with opportunities for personal integration

4. Opportunities to observe or interact with appropriate models

5. Systematic efforts to facilitate client’s support-building

The practical utility of these findings for practitioners is obvious. Apparently, it is not only important to provide individual, personal assistance to clients as they consider goals and next steps, but it is also important to help clients commit to their goals, implementation plans, and next steps in writing. Further, it is critically important to help clients build personal support systems into their plans to help facilitate the actions.

These critical ingredients of career interventions seem to fit easily into career counselors’ work with individuals and groups, and possibly even with larger classes and workshops. It will be interesting to see how many of these five critical ingredients have been included in the college career courses reviewed by Folsom and Reardon in their comprehensive study of curricular offerings by U.S. colleges and universities dating back to 1911. Unfortunately, the level of specificity in format and process is not likely to have been reported over the years. Nonetheless, the content of courses has been fairly consistent in inclusion of three major areas: career choice factors, career information, and job-seeking techniques. Career courses may naturally include the components identified by S. D. Brown and Ryan Krane (2000). If not, the critical ingredients seem relatively easy to add, given time and resources.

Christensen and Johnston described how they use a narrative approach to implement the five critical career counseling interventions suggested by S. D. Brown and Ryan Krane (2000): Clients are encouraged to tell their life career stories, both orally and in writing; clients are given personal feedback from the various objective and interactive appraisals administered; career counselors directly provide world-of-work information; counselors help clients access biographical stories of others in fields of interest or facilitate interviews with real workers; and, finally, counselors help clients build networking systems. Narrative in career planning is seen as a vehicle for helping the client serve as both the “author and main character of a career story that the client is concurrently constructing and enacting” (Christensen & Johnston, p. 149).

Process Research

The ultimate impact of career counseling outcome research is dependent upon the identification of process factors in career interventions. To date, analyses have focused on the outcomes of inadequately described treatment formats and modalities. “Remarkably little is known about what underlying processes and mechanisms lead to effective change in career counseling” (Heppner & Heppner, p. 429). Unfortunately, reports of outcome research studies too often reflect an almost total neglect of career intervention process. Who does what with whom in what way with what level of competency and effectiveness? What input variables (e.g., client/counselor characteristics, personality variables, cultural identities, and expectations) and what process variables (internal and shared affect, behaviors and cognitions of counselor and client as well as the reciprocal dynamics of the career counseling relationship) seem to be significantly related to client growth and change? These are long-neglected questions that deserve the imaginative research agenda outlined by Heppner and Heppner in the third article of Whiston’s special section on research related to the process and outcome of career counseling. As a century-old practice, career counseling as a process still seems relatively unknown and unstudied. It is as though career counseling is assumed to be homogenous in its format, implementation, and clientele served. Career development research is substantive and extensive, but there is relatively little research on the career counseling process (Savickas, a, p. 90) used by practitioners to facilitate their clients’ career development (Niles, p. 72)

The 2003 literature has suggested that a vibrant, dynamic conceptualization of career counseling has replaced the once-dominant view that career counseling is a rational, time-limited, information-driven, short-lived exchange. However, research on this newly embraced vision of a more traditional career counseling process has not kept pace. To address this need, Heppner and Heppner (p. 433) offered for use in career counseling process research several promising lines of research emanating from a rich and growing research literature on psychotherapy process. For example, they recommended that career counseling researchers could benefit from examining such variables as the working alliance; the five critical components identified by S. D. Brown, Ryan Krane, et al.; the mediating influence of counselor and client cognitive processes (self-efficacy); and cultural perspectives of both career counselor and client.

A summary perspective of the 2003 literature suggests that there is a nascent emergence of process research in career counseling focusing on at least some of these recommendations. For example, Multon, Ellis-Kalton, Heppner, and Gysbers examined the degree to which counselors’ verbal response modes were significantly related to the development of a working alliance in career counseling. They found that responses of counselors-in-training were not related to working alliance development, as might have been predicted, even though the working alliance did indeed show strengthening as predicted. Self-disclosure by counselors was found to have a significant, negative relationship with the development of a working alliance. On examination, the authors concluded that the finding made sense because of the general lack of appropriateness of the self-disclosure comments. Surprisingly, the responses most frequently used by the counselors-in-training, and collectively accounting for 79% of total responses, were provision of information, paraphrasing, and closed questions. It seems plausible that such a pattern of response modes may be a function of novice career counselors’ lack of experience and, perhaps, lack of fully developed career counseling competency, or such findings could suggest that career counseling as practiced by novice counselors still looks like the rational, information-dominated career counseling of old.

In a less rigorous, but nonetheless process-focused, research study and one that was compared with a similar study conducted by the author 10 years earlier, Loven found that counselors are basically information providers. Instead of the postmodern, process-oriented, holistic approach to career counseling described in today’s professional literature, actual career counseling practice seems to continue to reflect a commitment to the dissemination of information. The counseling process is a factual one, dominated by an active counselor providing information to a passive client. Loven suggested that the paradigm shift may be more rhetoric than reality. Perhaps a true shift toward a more holistic process-oriented and reciprocally dynamic interaction between the career counselor and the client has not yet occurred in actual practice.

The uniformity myth, as Heppner and Heppner suggested, tends to be used too often in career interventions. Classes, workshops/structured groups, and counselor-free interventions make up the vast majority of career interventions and are typically designed in a one-size-fits-all format. Kelly and Pulver’s study of career indecision types provided excellent evidence of the need to design interventions on the basis of identified and measured needs of participants rather than on assumptions of uniformity.

Indecision types. In a cluster analysis study of 566 first-semester, undecided students, using measures of indecision, ability, and personality, Kelly and Pulver identified four distinct indecision types, each seeming to need different types and levels of intervention. Well-adjusted information seekers reflect the type of undecided students who are relatively free of stress and in apparent need of additional information about themselves and occupations. They are confident that they can handle whatever life presents them and seem to be solely in need of enhanced knowledge of self and the world-of-work.

Neurotic indecisive information seekers, the second type, carry a great deal of stress, not only about career choices but also, and perhaps more intrusively and constantly, about anxiety and negative affect concerning life in general. Overly cautious and introverted, this type of individual seems to want to avoid finding out more about self and career options because of the level of anxiety any kind of social behavior produces. It is likely that this particular type, according to the similarity in descriptions, made up the group of indecisive students that Nota and Soresi had such outcome success with in their assertiveness training program. The experimental group in their study made significant gains in such areas as information seeking and greater levels of decision making.

Low-ability information seekers, the third type, form a unique group in several ways, in that they are relatively well-adjusted, highly social and positive, free of significant negative affect, and yet marginally talented. Kelly and Pulver believed that this group has been inappropriately lumped into the first type because of the absence of anxiety and stress. However, doing so negates interventions more targeted toward their needs and ability level. Uncommitted extraverts are the fourth type. These are the individuals who are relatively free of decision conflict because they seem to know what they want to do but just have not been able to make the final commitment to action.

Targeted interventions. Career intervention implications are great for these types, individually and collectively. First of all, the well-adjusted information seekers simply need straightforward, information-oriented interventions of brief duration such as computer-based systems and/or informational interviewing. The more anxious, neurotic-indecisive individuals need personal counseling to anchor the information-seeking process. In addition, they need decision-making training and highly structured and supported tasks to help develop specific tools for acquiring and processing career and self-information. The best strategy for the low-ability, yet confident, information seekers is to make the learning experience social, such as through internships, externships, and part-time work experiences. The most effective assistance for the uncommitted extraverts is to help them develop a written action plan. The implications of this set of cluster analysis findings, as an extension of several other previous related studies, are quite practical and clear. A one-size career intervention does not fit all. Individual counseling, group counseling, and instructional interventions need to be tailored to the learning requirements and preferences of the various types of participants. Kelly and Pulver have made a convincing case for including an ability measure in the identification of undecided typologies.

Agenda for Process Research

Heppner and Heppner have outlined a comprehensive, useful, and achievable research agenda for facilitating career counseling process research. Although some efforts can be identified in the 2003 literature in possibly each one of the targeted goal areas, it is clear that much more needs to be done. The dramatic increase over the last few decades in the relative sophistication of research methodology used in career outcome research and career process research is certainly visible in the 2003 literature. Whether the sophistication takes the quantitative analysis form of path analysis (Lease; Lent, Brown, Schmidt, et al.) or structural equation modeling analysis (Guay et al.; Tokar, Withrow, et al.) or the form of qualitative analysis (Jennings et al; Ronnestad & Skovholt; Skovholt & Ronnestad, a, b, c) or longitudinal analysis (Jepsen & Dickson), career research methodology is compelling and impressive in its range and substance. Such methodology has helped career professionals value the contributions that intensive workshops and class interventions have made to positive outcomes in the form of substantive effect sizes. Moreover, such growth in sophistication of methodology has the potential to move career research toward more causal research paradigms, thereby providing more specificity in the understanding of the relevant contributions of the critical components of structure and support to effect size.

Beyond these achievements, however, career research needs to redirect its efforts toward career intervention strategies that are culturally concordant and built upon both individual-collective and dominant-subordinate social status dimensions of career interventions (Spokane, Fouad, & Swanson). Walsh (b) added an admonition to career researchers when he questioned the absence of a heterogeneous research and intervention clientele. Will career counseling continue to show effectiveness outside its traditional dominant-culture clients? Walsh (b) offered another challenge when he pointed to the absence in career research of any attention to the common factors (working alliance) and treatment specificity issue. What accounts for the differences in outcomes?

Career Counseling Groups

Career intervention studies reported in the 2003 literature cover the life span in targeted age groups and are similarly wide-ranging in format and focus, with one significant exception. The most glaring void in the literature of 2003 is in the area of career counseling groups. We could find no reports of process/outcome research on career groups. A few classes or psychoeducational training workshops were referred to as “groups,” but upon analysis, they did not report any characteristics either in membership or process normally associated with small group work.

If the literature of a single year reflects the state-of-the art, group work is not seen as an effective intervention vehicle for career counseling professionals. It is possible that practitioners are actually leading career counseling groups and not conducting process/outcome research because of the special research challenges of small samples. However, in light of the relatively small number of group studies (four) reported in the career outcome research literature over a 25-year period in the meta-analyses reviewed earlier, the number is more than likely accurate. What meaning can be constructed for such a finding? Is it possible that workshops, courses, and counselor-free interventions (computer guidance systems, self-administered assessments, and career libraries) have become the modalities of choice? Are counselors ignoring individual and group career counseling? Are graduate training programs not including career counseling groups in their curriculum and supervision?

Interventions From Elementary School Age to Adulthood

Career interventions were reported at all levels of schooling and beyond. In perhaps the only 2003 article directly related to career guidance programs in elementary schools, Beale described an innovative pantomime activity through which he helps students in Grades 3 and 4 learn about the importance of teamwork in a workplace. The task of the students is to help the teacher open and operate a new restaurant. In an innovative, exciting format, a narrator (the teacher–the only voice to be heard) sets the scene and then begins to act out all parts required for each succeeding challenge. The narrator starts by setting up the tables and chairs, preparing make-believe food, welcoming customers (the students), taking orders, serving, cleaning, talking to customers, handling spills, and creating a great variety of other events and roles that typify work in a busy restaurant. The increasing pace and chaos that naturally accompany one person trying to play all roles continues until the narrator messes up everything, because the narrator just can not handle it all him- or herself. Then the narrator “hires,” one-by-one, employees (the students) to handle specific tasks, all without talking. This article is imaginatively written; is undoubtedly quite funny in action, yet substantive; and, best of all, seems to have tremendous face validity in terms of its career guidance value.

The majority of career interventions described in the 2003 literature focused on adolescents and young adults. Teuscher implemented a five-stage model of decision-making training in six small groups of 10 to 12 students in the 10th grade. In a psychoeducational format, the group leaders structured each instructional session around a technique, like goal setting. Posttraining comments on questionnaires suggested that the group members named more process-oriented criteria in judging the quality of a career decision than did the control group members, indicating that the trainees judged a decision on the merits of the process used to arrive at a decision more than on the outcome alone.

In a comprehensive study of a series of interventions with rural high school students, Lapan, Tucker, Kim, and Kosciulek found strong evidence that a sample of students at the 8th-, 10th-, and 12th- grade levels achieved critical career development goals, enhanced their satisfaction with school, and increased their intentions to enter post-high school settings requiring higher levels of training after participating in a program with five areas of interventions. These included four curricular strategies (organized classes around a central career theme, instruction that emphasized the relevance of course content to the world-of-work, structuring of work-based learning experiences, and connected learning activities) and a support dimension (parents, counselors, and others).

Taveira and Moreno described an exceptionally helpful model for developing specific, targeted career exploration activities to meet the individual needs of adolescents. Taveira’s (as cited in Taveira & Moreno) four distinct career clusters (i.e., confident exploration, anxious exploration, gender-oriented exploration, and deferred exploration) were used as a base for establishing a career exploration model. Using a developmental grid comprising these four profiles and Kolb’s (1984) orthogonal learning modalities (concrete-abstract, reflexive-active), this research team from Portugal and Spain developed and described career exploration interventions in a practical and informative article. More than anything else, this model reminds career counselors how career exploration is more than just a general phrase.

Hall contributed an article focused on family career intervention strategies. He described and recommended several practical techniques and strategies, including narrative techniques, for use by families to help build adolescents’ self-efficacy. For example, he asked parents to share family stories about past struggles and successes regarding choices in life and to share stories about other family members not known by their adolescents, as in a genogram. Marriage and family therapists have used variations of family trees in the form of genograms for some time to help family members identify a myriad of relationship issues and dynamics. Similarly, career counselors have used vocational genograms for decades to help clients understand the etiologies and dynamics of family work traditions, ethics, gender expectations, achievement myths, decision-making styles, work-family balancing dimensions, and aspirations. Malach-Pines described the use of a genogram in career counseling to help individuals learn about unfinished business passed along in families through differential meanings underlying parental absence. McMahon et al. also described the utility of a family-systems-based genogram, as well as of lifelines and timelines, as additional qualitative processes and techniques.

Work experience. Does work experience help adolescents? If so, how and in what ways? In a survey of 1,451 high school students in Australia, Green and Smith found that 87% of the students had worked for pay while in school, but only 18% had participated in structured work placements, like those arranged in vocational education. Findings indicated very little learning takes place in unstructured work placements, most likely because of a lack of motivation for teaching/learning on the parts of both the supervisor and the worker.

Post–high school transitions do not always come easily for those going to work or for those going on to higher education. Walck and Hensby investigated the career needs of incoming university students and discovered that preorientation programs were “extremely valuable.” The researchers concluded that students need assurance that career uncertainty is acceptable at this age and stage of development.

College career course. Colleges and universities provide a wide array of career services, one of which is typically a career planning course that is often offered jointly with an academic department, usually the graduate program in counseling. In one of the more substantive and important articles of the year, Folsom and Reardon synthesized what is known about what has become quite possibly the single most common career intervention used in one form or another around the globe: the career course. Folsom and Reardon located 80 references to various aspects of career courses offered in colleges and universities from the early years of the 20th century to the present. In a comprehensive report of the robust history and relative impact of these courses, they reported on the results of their examination of 46 studies of course-related outputs/outcomes published from 1976 to 2001. Of the 46 reports analyzed, Folsom and Reardon reported that 90% of the 38 studies they actually ended up including in their review showed positive gains in terms of outputs like career decision-making skills, career decidedness, career thoughts, career maturity, persistence, retention, and satisfaction. In addition, they found 15 studies reporting outcome measures, 87% of which reported positive outcomes such as selection of major, retention and lower degree-completion times, job satisfaction, and/or grade point average. Although the courses have varied in content and process over the decades, as well as by institutional emphasis, traditional content has included career information, career choice factors, career planning, and job-hunting strategies and techniques. Career professionals involved in the instruction of this course will benefit from reading this article and from visiting the researchers’ informative Web site noted in the article.

Wessel, Christian, and Hoff collected data on 47 different developmental tasks from 418 college students, half of whom (49%) were members of the Career Success Club, developed by the university’s college of business, and half (51%) of whom were not. The club was actually a set of developmental tasks that suggested ways (along with targeted campus resources) for achieving tasks in phases as shared in newsletters, electronic listserv messages, and materials such as the Career Success Plan. Results showed that members of the club who were sophomores, juniors, and seniors showed much more maturity than their counterparts in the control group (not members of the Career Success Club). Findings were not significant for freshmen. An interesting secondary finding was that students (80%) most often consult their parents for career exploration assistance, then academic advisers (76%) and faculty members (68%). Only 28% take advantage of services offered by the career center, and even fewer consult career counselors (8%) in the counseling center. Alarmingly, students in greater numbers consult the Web for career assistance than consult career professionals.

Career intervention techniques. Several interesting career intervention techniques were reported in the 2003 literature. In fact, Feller (b) constructed a special issue of Professional School Counseling that contains a great collection of techniques, strategies, and intervention ideas suitable for practitioners in all settings, not just schools. Highlights include his review of fundamental assumptions that guide and misguide interventionists. Another article offers a challenge by Rosenbaum and Person to go beyond the expectations that all students will become college graduates. Still other stimulating articles describe the knowledge economy and its relationship to students’ future skill requirements and the use of Real Games (Jarvis & Keeley).

A technique discussed this year in several places is the use of the card sort as an interactive assessment tool that has a built-in feedback and processing element. No computer printouts are included as a product of the card sort process. It is all about the direct interaction of client and counselor. Career professionals continue to make effective use of the card sort methodology that is traceable to, for example, Tyler (Dolliver, 1967; Dolliver & Will, 1977), Jones (1979), and R. N. Hansen and Johnston (1989; Bikos, Krieshok, & O’Brien, 1998). This year, Wnuk and Amundson tested the use of the Intelligent Careers Card Sort[R] as an instrument designed to assess a client’s ways of knowing: knowing-why (meaning/beliefs/values), knowing-how (technical skills/knowledge), and knowing-whom (interpersonal connections). The unique value of a card sort as a structured interview technique is that it elicits subjective data. Wnuk and Amundson used the card sort in a focus group format. Others reported the use of card sorts as a qualitative assessment process (McMahon et al.).


Case-related intervention suggestions are provided once or twice a year by career development journals in an effort to make the literature more appealing and useful to practitioners. However, cases in most journals cannot be described in sufficient detail, given space limitations, to truly educate practitioners or to give respondents anything much of substance with which to build a “master’s” response. Nonetheless, cases and responses are often interesting, if not necessarily additive or informative, and often result in the sharing of an appealing career counseling technique or strategy. Rehfuss briefly described an interesting case involving a career crisis point for a mediator faced with a critical decision point in her work life that connected deeply with her own personal life history. Responses were from two very different approaches: a constructivist career counseling approach (Mitchell) and an approach (Porfeli) that combined Baltes and Baltes’s (1990) Selective Optimization With Compensation (SOC) model of human development and the Heckhausen and Schulz (1995) model of Life-Span Theory of Control.

It is interesting that another study examined the meditative influence of the SOC model on conscientiousness as a job performance indicator. The SOC model assumes that as a person ages or assumes more responsibilities, he or she needs to become more selective in prioritizing goals and more effective in optimizing goal achievement strategies while at the same time becoming more effective in identifying and using alternative strategies to compensate for old favorites that do not work as well as they once did. Bajor and Baltes found in their study of highly conscientious employees that the SOC model did, in fact, mediate to a modest degree the traditionally strong relationship of conscientiousness on job performance.

Resurgence of Values in Career Counseling

It was heartening to see some attention in the 2003 literature being paid to the role of values in career counseling and development. Once considered a critically important area of the individual appraisal process, values clarification as an area of principal focus seemed to wane somewhat before a relatively recent revival (D. Brown, 1995, 1996). This year, two additional contributions brighten the picture. Kopelman, Rovenpor, and Guan revised the Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Study of Values (SOV), an instrument that was once a highly popular personality measure. The authors discussed the primary reasons for the SOV’s loss of favor, pinpointing issues of item content, including the use of antiquated language, narrow views of religiosity, and outdated cultural referents. They updated these aspects of the scale, including gender-inclusive pronouns, more diverse religious examples, and more modern cultural figures. The researchers administered both the original and the updated forms on separate occasions 2 months apart to a sample of college students. Modest psychometrics were similar to those of the original scale. The authors suggested that the fourth edition of the SOV may be a useful alternative to other scales because the SOV presents a real-world, not hypothetical, approach to choice.

Colozzi described a useful values-related career counseling technique that he calls Depth-Oriented Values Extraction (DOVE). Colozzi speculated that individuals have two different values systems that are typically operative in the cognitive and affective processes associated with their decision making. “Expressed values” are the more familiar. These are the more external and easily identified values such as security, hard-working, education–typically the values expressed and nurtured by external forces like the family and school. “Implied values” are more hidden and, most of the time, are more unexamined and unknown to the individual, but they are deeper, more reflective of an inner calling and purpose and central to a person’s inner core self. To get through the confusion of the expressed values to the implied values requires a process of extraction. Colozzi described a comprehensive multistep process of helping the individual identify these core areas of deep, personal value. His DOVE technique has merit for practitioners in search of a dynamic values exploration process.

Mentoring as a Career Intervention

Several studies examined formal and informal mentoring. T. D. Allen examined personality characteristics relative to individuals’ tendency to serve as mentors in the organizational setting and to the actual act of serving as a mentor. The researcher identified two dimensions of prosocial personality that were important to the study: other-oriented empathy (i.e., feeling concern about others’ welfare) and helpfulness. T. D. Allen surveyed a group of 391 accountants and engineers, of whom 249 reported having served as a mentor, and found differential relationships between career and psychosocial mentoring: Helpfulness was related to career mentoring, but not to psychosocial mentoring, and other-oriented empathy was related to psychosocial mentoring, but not to career mentoring.

Packard described a qualitative survey study that assessed the effect of a series of mentoring workshops designed for college women pursuing science careers. The “composite mentoring” program involved a strategic selection of a diverse set of mentors, each offering a different aspect of mentoring in an effort to facilitate the students’ development of their “possible selves.” Postprogram surveys and 4-month follow-ups indicated that the majority of the young women had sought out multiple mentors regularly.

Intervention Summary

One of the primary goals of The Career Development Quarterly editors each year is to present practitioners a synthesis of research and practice publications with direct relevance to their work as career counselors. It follows logically then that career interventions may have the most practicality and interest for practitioners. Unfortunately, the number of articles with direct practical utility for practitioners is small compared with the number with direct relevance for researchers. As usual, there is more emphasis in this year’s professional literature on research than practice. Certainly, many research studies have direct relevance for practice, although perhaps not quite as much as those describing new interventions and techniques. Nonetheless, the relevance tends to be more indirect. Articles describing specific career counseling techniques and strategies, other than assessment, are simply not as numerous in today’s professional literature.

In our judgment, the most important and helpful contribution is S. D. Brown, Ryan Krane, et al.’s confirmation of their earlier identified critical components of effective career interventions, regardless of format: workbooks with written assignments, in-session information seeking, assessment feedback and processing, direct or vicarious modeling opportunities, and facilitation of support building.

Technology in Career Development

A topic that received special attention in the 2003 literature was the influence of technology in career development areas. The October issue of the Journal of Vocational Behavior (Russell, b) focused on technology and careers. Evidence for changes in the way individuals work as a result of technological advancements is provided in Gardner, Lepak, and Bartol’s study, wherein they explored the impact of information technology on professionals employed in human resources. Results indicated that more extensive use of technology allows professionals to be more responsive to clients in providing information and in accessing and providing information more autonomously. With the increased efficiency comes increased time required for providing technological support activities, however.

Distance Learning

Changing technology also affects training options for organizations and institutions. Burgess and Russell reviewed literature relevant to distance learning in the organizational setting. The authors distinguished between distance learning and e-learning, defining distance learning as training in which geographically diverse participants receive the material at the same time and e-learning as a self-paced educational medium that can be used either in remote locations or on-site. Apparently, e-learning is increasing in popularity among organizations, resulting in increased training efficiency and effectiveness, better cost effectiveness, and reduced training-related travel (Chute, Thompson, & Hancock, 1999; Davy, 1998). Despite preliminary reports that distance learning is an effective, efficient training modality, Burgess and Russell emphasized that much of the literature focuses on anecdotal reports. More concern could be given to the need for ensuring trainer competence in program design, implementation, and evaluation.


An arena that has become increasingly pertinent to today’s workforce is telecommuting, or working from a remote location. Recent estimates of the prevalence of telecommuting indicated that more than 10% of employees in the United States telecommute at least part-time (International Telework Association & Council, 2000; Raghuram, Wiesenfeld, & Garud; Russell, a).

Several researchers have identified possible benefits for employees associated with telework, including increased autonomy, increased motivation and job satisfaction, improved job performance, increased productivity, better job retention, flexibility in the work venue, and benefits for the family (DiMartino & Wirth, 1990; Hill, Ferris, & Martinson; Neal, Chapman, Ingersoll-Dayton, & Emlen, 1993; Raghuram et al.). Productivity and revenue benefits for the company have also been cited (Katz, 1997; Turban, McLean, & Wetherbe, 1996; Workman, Kahnweiler, & Bommer).

Despite these positives, however, some negative consequences of telework have been discussed. Hill et al. found references to several problems with telework, including decreased job security (Rovi, 1997) and a negative influence on career progress because of isolation from the company’s political network and resentment from colleagues in the traditional office (Neal et al., 1993). Additional problems include distance from work colleagues, increased ambiguity, limited feedback opportunities, lack of structure in the remote environment, decreased pressure to respond to office cues, and increased competing nonwork demands (Raghuram et al.; Workman et al.).

A few studies examined aspects of telecommuting and/or the virtual office. Raghuram et al. focused on the influence of self-efficacy on teleworkers’ adjustment to their job circumstances and the way they structured their workdays. They distributed a Web-based survey created to assess telecommuters’ structuring behavior, adjustment to telecommuting, and telecommuting self-efficacy, along with the number of days per week that they were involved in telecommuting, gender, experience with telecommuting, and job category. They found that domain-specific self-efficacy was important to telecommuters’ adjustment and the way they structured their workdays. These relationships were stronger for employees who spent more time in telecommuting. Both gender and experience with telecommuting affected the adjustment of telecommuters. Gender also affected structuring behavior, with women involved in telecommuting reporting more self-imposed structure in their workweeks. These findings suggested that self-efficacy affects individuals’ efforts at adapting to their home-based work context.

Virtual Office

A study by Hill et al. assessed the relationships between work environment and aspects of work life as well as family/personal life, using data collected as part of a large-scale, online survey conducted by IBM. The study focused on three work venues: a traditional office setting, a home office, or a virtual office. Hill et al. defined the virtual office as a work style in which employees are given the portable means to do their jobs from a variety of locations, in contrast to the home office, in which employees work primarily from home. The researchers found that virtual office workers and home office workers reported better job motivation and career opportunity than traditional office workers, although virtual office workers reported less work/life balance and personal/family success than traditional office workers or home-based teleworkers. Home-based teleworkers reported better job retention, work/life balance, and personal/family success than traditional office workers and also reported higher performance appraisals than virtual office workers.

Hill et al. also explored the amount of time that workers in the three different settings spent on household labor and on work. They found that both home office and virtual office workers averaged longer weekly work hours than workers in the traditional office setting, with virtual office workers spending the most time on work and the least time on household labor. These findings may explain differences in employees’ reports of their work/life balance and personal/family success, because it appears that virtual office workers have a less family-oriented work situation than workers in other settings.

Through multivariate analysis, Hill et al. found that working in the virtual office predicted increased job motivation, job retention, workload success, and career opportunity, but that it also predicted poorer performance ratings and work/family balance. Working in the home office setting predicted increased job motivation, work/life balance, and personal/family success. Further, working in the traditional office predicted improved job performance, decreased job motivation, less job retention, less workload success, and less career opportunity. The researchers suggested that teleworking positively affects job motivation and job retention. However, other findings were more ambiguous: Although teleworkers perceived their performance as better, direct comparison of actual performance evaluations did not confirm it. Additionally, virtual office and home office employees’ perceptions of increased career opportunity compared with traditional office workers were contrary to previous research findings.

The study offered valuable insight into the specific concerns of workers in nontraditional work environments. It appears that individuals who work from remote locations other than the home may not fare as well personally as workers involved in home-based telecommuting or traditional office work. These findings can be helpful for organizations considering implementation of telework options, as well as for practitioners who assist teleworkers with career development issues.

Web-Based Career Development Program

In addition to the studies reported in the 2003 Journal of Vocational Behavior (Russell, b) special issue on technology, a study by Gati, Kleiman, Saka, and Zakai was published in this same journal that focused on assessing the perceived benefits of an Internet-based career development intervention, Making Better Career Decisions (MBCD), an interactive Internet-based program designed “to facilitate its users’ career decision-making process” (p. 273). Goals of the program included identifying “promising alternatives.” Participants accessed the Web site voluntarily through a link in another site and rated their perceived benefits and whether they would recommend the site to a friend. Results indicated that the perceived benefit of MBCD was highest for those users who began the program with the highest degree of career decidedness. Users who began the program with no idea of their career choice and remained undecided reported less perceived benefit. Even so, 38% still said that they would recommend the program to a friend. The researchers concluded that individuals using an Internet-based career development program may focus on outcomes as a measure of perceived benefit. They suggested that practitioners be aware of the process the program uses to achieve outcomes, proposing that printed reports could aid in this understanding.

Anticipations of Computer Assistance

Other studies related to technology in career development included one by Florida State University’s highly productive career development research team in which they assessed client anticipations prior to using a computer-assisted career guidance system in a higher education career services center. Using simple, direct methodology, Osborn, Peterson, Sampson, and Reardon asked 55 clients a single open-ended question: What do you think the computer will do for you? Then they asked the clients to respond to a set of 30 cued questions (e.g., “The computer will help me find a job”). One of the findings of particular interest was that a majority of the clients seemed to express uncertainty about what the computer-assisted program might do for them. Collectively, the clients anticipated increased options, enhanced self-knowledge and occupational knowledge, and greater focus and direction. One of the most significant implications of the study identified by the team was the need for increased training of career counselors. To help clients with inaccurate or inappropriate anticipations make effective use of computer-assisted career guidance systems, career counselors need to better understand what a program can and cannot do, as well as its theoretical base.

McCarthy et al. conducted a study in which they implemented a training program similar to the one called for by Sampson et al., as reviewed earlier in the ethics section. They trained graduate students in the use of selected search engines and in the use of a structured interview designed to help clients assess which of their goals could be aided by the Internet. The trained graduate students then helped the clients identify and use appropriate Web sites. In general, the researchers found positive results with both the graduate students and their undergraduate clients.

Internet Use at Work

All is not positive in the use of technology in the workplace. According to a survey reported by Griffiths, 59% of Internet use at work is unrelated to work, thus reflecting a major problem of Internet abuse. Inappropriate use ranges from using work computers for shopping, travel arrangements, and personal communication to more serious abuses such as gambling, cybersex, and pornography use. Vices and virtues of technology seem omnipresent.

Technology in Career Development Summary

The attention to technology in career development in 2003 is helpful in determining directions for further research. Much of the literature related to technology has focused on the organizational setting, with less attention to technology in career development interventions. With the increasing importance of technology in virtually every setting, it seems relevant to examine in more detail the effectiveness of interventions. Russell (a) called for more work examining organizational climate relative to technological issues. She also emphasized the need for further research on the unique concerns related to specific contexts in which individuals use technology and how individual differences, including culture and personality variables, affect reactions to implementation and change in workplace technology. This research could prove to be beneficial for practitioners, not only in using technology in their work with clients but also in helping clients to understand and adapt to a changing work environment.

Perhaps the most appropriate summary comment for technology in career development was made by Harris-Bowlsbey. In her judgment, the highest priority need in this new technology research agenda is to compare the effectiveness of long-cherished, personal, face-to-face facilitative relationships with clients to relationships aided chiefly by e-mail support or, at best, camera-assisted connections.

Annual Review Summary

Authorship Analysis

One of the pleasures for a career counseling professional is to read the contributions of both established and emerging researchers. Thematic programs of research conducted over a period of years by an individual or a small team make a positive difference in the lives of teachers and practitioners as well as in the lives of other researchers. Individuals and research teams who added to the understanding of career development this year are listed in the references; however, some deserve note for exceptional work, not only this year but over a period of several years. Included among these are the following individuals and teams (listed in approximate alphabetical order except for the listing of teams together): Amundson; Betz, Rottinghaus, and Borgen; S. D. Brown and Ryan Krane; Blustein; Chung; L. Gottfredson; S. Hansen; Harris-Bowlsbey; Helwig; Herr; Jepsen; Multon, Heppner, and Gysbers; Niles; W. Patton; Reardon, Sampson, and Lenz; Ronnestad and Skovholt; Savickas; Schultheiss; Whiston and Brecheisen.

Of the 510 authors of articles in the present review, 54% (275) were women. International authors from 25 countries represented 31% of the total number of authors contributing to the literature included in this database. The largest number (49) of international authors came from Australia. American authors were largely from the Midwest (30%), with Ohio (31) and Missouri (27) having the largest numbers of authors. Other U.S. regions were home to the following percentages of total authors: South, 18%; Northeast, 12%; and West (including the Northwest and Southwest), 9%. It is interesting that the overwhelming majority of the articles reviewed were coauthored: Of the 230 articles, 152 (or 66% of the total) were written by multiple authors.

Content Analysis

Practitioners will find a number of articles helpful and stimulating in this year’s literature. In particular, practitioners could benefit from reading the studies adding further research substance to S. D. Brown and Ryan Krane’s (2000) identification of five critical components that seem to be critical for any career intervention, regardless of format. Career course teachers will greatly benefit from Folsom and Reardon’s review of almost a century’s worth of instructional efforts. Each of the featured special issues has exceptional merit and readability, especially the one on the career development of the career counselor. The cognitive career assessment issue will add to a practitioner’s repertoire as well. Specific techniques such as card sorts, genograms, lifelines, and so forth are described, albeit too briefly sometimes, in various articles. Betz et al.’s work on the E-SCI deserves reading, as does Beale’s description of a pantomime skit related to teamwork, the only article for elementary school counselors.

All in all, the 2003 literature is filled with wonderfully enlightening work from an incredibly wide range of professional publications. Although the profession benefits greatly from the breadth of the coverage, it is possible that such broad interest in career development also serves to contribute to a lack of coherence (Bright & Carless). We feel fortunate to have been given this opportunity to review such good works and commend the substance and style of 2003’s literature to the reader with confidence that he or she will feel professionally refreshed and renewed. The literature in career assessment, in one form or another, still clearly dominates the research and practice literature in career counseling and development. Research methodology continues to grow in sophistication, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The globalization of the profession, as reflected in the contributions by international authors, continues on an upward trend. Career theory continues to be a strength of the profession. Traditional theories have garnered new support, and emerging theories are showing promise.

Research/Action Agenda

When this year’s literature trends are added to the last decade of The Career Development Quarterly annual reviews, it is clear that there is growing concern about a few professional issues. First, there is an urgent need to attend to the decreasing quality of professional supervision and training of career counselors. Training issues have been present for most of the last decade; however, the intensity seems to have ratcheted upwards with the increasing neglect of career counselors’ training by graduate programs in counseling and psychology. The profession, through NCDA perhaps, should marshal its resources to influence accrediting bodies to require (a) a doctoral-level course in career development theory, research, and practice; (b) a doctoral-level course in group work that includes supervised career group leadership experience; and (c) both master’s-level and doctoral-degree programs to provide evidence of predegree supervised experience in career counseling. As a more direct and proactive commitment to training, the profession (NCDA) should offer a Teaching Academy for Career Development Professors as an intensive workshop connected to the annual convention and possibly offer regional Teaching Academies biennially to assist new professors of career courses.

Past reviews (Arbona, 2000; Swanson & Parcover, 1998; Whiston & Brecheisen, 2002; R. A. Young & Chen, 1999) have identified process and outcome research as a continuing void in the literature. The year 2003 continues the same trend. Very few articles even described an intervention, much less measured its impact. Thus, there is a continuing need for process-outcome research in career counseling and development.

In 2003, several excellent articles were published about career development issues and concerns pertaining specifically to diverse populations, but the number of such publications certainly did not reach last year’s 25% (Flores et al.). Diversity requires a continuing commitment over time.

Finally, it is time for the profession to develop a model career counseling and development Web site that will serve as a standard bearer for consumers to use as a measuring tool. The site could serve as a clearing-house of Web-related technological research, Web-site evaluations, consumer guidelines, and exemplary materials.


[dagger]For informational purposes, these articles, although not cited in the text, form part of the 2003 database of reviewed articles.

Ackerman, P. L., & Beier, M. E. (2003). Intelligence, personality, and interests in the career choice process. Journal of Career Assessment, 11, 205-218.

Ahn, H.-N., & Wampold, B. E. (2001). Where oh where are the specific ingredients? A meta-analysis of component studies in counseling and psychotherapy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 48, 251-257.

[dagger]Allen, N. J. (2003). Examining organizational commitment in China. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 511-515.

Allen, T. D. (2003). Mentoring others: A dispositional and motivational approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 134-154.

[dagger]Allen, T. D., & Finkelstein, L. M. (2003). Beyond mentoring: Alternative sources and functions of developmental support. The Career Development Quarterly, 51, 346-355.

Amundson, N. E. (2003). Applying metaphors from physics to career/life issues. Journal of Employment Counseling, 40, 146-151.

Amundson, N. E., & Penner, K. (1998). Parent involved career exploration. The Career Development Quarterly, 47, 135-144.

[dagger]Andrews, M. C., Wilt, L. A., & Kacmar, K. M. (2003). The interactive effects of organizational politics and exchange ideology on manager ratings of retention. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 357-369.

Angerer, J. M. (2003). Job burnout. Journal of Employment Counseling, 40, 98-107.

Arbona, C. (2000). Practice and research in career counseling and development–1999. The Career Development Quarterly, 49, 98-134.

Arbona, C. (2003). Work-oriented midcareer development: A commentary. The Counseling Psychologist, 31, 198-204.

[dagger]Armstrong, P. I., Hubert, L., & Rounds, J. (2003). Circular unidimensional scaling: A new look at group differences in interest structure. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50, 297-308.

Arnold, N., Seekins, T., Ipsen, C., & Colling, K. (2003). Self-employment for people with disabilities in the United States: A recommended process for vocational rehabilitation agencies. Australian Journal of Career Development, 12(1), 49-57.

[dagger]Arulmani, G., van Laar, D., & Easton, S. (2003). The influence of career beliefs and socioeconomic status on career decision making of high school students in India. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 3, 205-221.

Athanasou, J. A. (2003a). Acquired brain injury and return to work in Australia and New Zealand. Australian Journal of Career Development, 12(1), 58-65.

Athanasou, J. A. (2003b). Career profile: Interview with Mike Geeves. Australian Journal of Career Development, 12(2), 4-6.

[dagger]Athanasou, J. A. (2003c). Career profile: Interview with Suzette Dyer. Australian Journal of Career Development, 12(3), 4-6.

Athanasou, J. A. (2003d). Editorial. Australian Journal of Career Development, 12(2), 2-3.

Athanasou, J. A. (2003e). Factors influencing job choice. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 3, 205-221.

[dagger]Aycan, Z., & Fikret-Pasa, S. (2003). Career choices, job selection criteria, and leadership preferences in a transitional nation: The case of Turkey. Journal of Career Development, 30, 129-144.

Bajor, J. K., & Baltes, B. B. (2003). The relationship between selection optimization with compensation, conscientiousness, motivation, and performance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 347-367.

Baker, J. G. (2003). Glass ceilings or sticky floors? A model of high-income law graduates. Journal of Labor Research, 24(4), 695-711.

[dagger]Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., de Boer, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2003). Job demands and job resources as predictors of absence duration and frequency. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 341-356.

Baltes, P. B., & Baltes, M. M. (1990). Psychological perspectives on successful aging: The model of selective optimization with compensation. In P. B. Baltes & M. M. Baltes (Eds.), Successful aging: Perspectives from the behavioral sciences (pp. 1-34). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Barak, A. (2003). Ethical and professional issues in career assessment on the Internet. Journal of Career Assessment, 11, 13-21.

Barnett, R. C., Gareis, K. C., James, J. B., & Steele, J. (2003). Planning ahead: College seniors’ concerns about career-marriage conflict. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 305-319.

Barrett, I. C., Cervero, R. M., & Johnson-Bailey, J. (2003). Biculturalism-outsiders within: The career development experiences of Black human resource developers. Journal of Career Development, 30, 109-128.

Battle, A., & Wigfield, A. (2003). College women’s value orientations toward family, career, and graduate school. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 56-75.

Beale, A. V. (2003). It takes a team to run a restaurant: Introducing elementary students to the interrelatedness of occupation. Journal of Career Development, 29, 211-220.

Betz, N. E. (2003). A proactive approach to midcareer development. The Counseling Psychologist, 31, 205-211.

Betz, N. E., Borgen, F. H., & Harmon, L. W. (1996). Skills Confidence Inventory: Applications and technical guide. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Betz, N. E., Borgen, F. H., Rottinghaus, P., Paulsen, A., Halper, C. R., & Harmon, L. W. (2003). The Expanded Skills Confidence Inventory: Measuring basic dimensions of vocational activity. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 76-100.

Betz, N. E., & Hackett, G. (1983). The relationship of mathematics self-efficacy expectations to the selection of science-based college majors. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 23, 329-345.

Bikos, L. H., Krieshok, T. S., & O’Brien, K. M. (1998). Evaluating the psychometric properties of the Missouri Occupational Card Sort. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 52, 135-155.

Blanchard, C. A., & Lichtenberg, J. W. (2003). Compromise in career decision making: A test of Gottfredson’s theory. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 250-271.

[dagger]Blau, G., Tatum, D. S., & Ward-Cook, K. (2003). Correlates of professional versus organizational withdrawal cognition. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 72-85.

Blustein, D. L. (2003). When the trees obscure the forest–Modern and postmodern approaches to the study of work and relationships: Comment on Tokar et al. (2003). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50, 20-23.

Blustein, D. L., & Palladino, D. E. (1991). Self and identity in late adolescence: A theoretical and empirical integration. Journal of Adolescent Research, 6, 437-453.

Blustein, D. L., Prezioso, M. S., & Schultheiss, D. P. (1995). Attachment theory and career development: Current status and future directions. The Counseling Psychologist, 23, 416-432.

Blustein, D. L., Walbridge, M. M., Friedlander, M. L., & Palladino, D. E. (1991). Contributions of psychological separation and parental attachment to the career development process. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38, 39-50.

[dagger]Bobridge, K., Gordon, S., Walker, A., & Thompson, R. (2003). Evaluation of a career assistance program for youth-aged cricketers. Australian Journal of Career Development, 12(2), 19-28.

[dagger]Brathwaite, A. D. (2003). Career centers for the future. Journal of Career Development, 29, 147-148.

Bright, J., & Carless, S. (2003). Special issue: Work and careers. Australian Journal of Psychology, 55(2), 63-64.

[dagger]Brown, C., George-Curran, R., & Smith, M. L. (2003). The role of emotional intelligence in the career commitment and decision-making process. Journal of Career Assessment, 11, 379-392.

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John C. Dagley and Shannon K. Salter, Counseling and Counseling Psychology, Auburn University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to John C. Dagley, 2084 Haley Center, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849 (e-mail:

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