The development of self complexity as occupational identity and its impact on well being
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The Development of Self-Complexity as Occupational Identity and Its Impact on Well-Being. Oksana Malanchuk Emily Messersmith Stephen C. Peck Jacquelynne S. Eccles University of Michigan. Acknowledgements.

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The Development of Self-Complexity as Occupational Identity and Its Impact on Well-Being

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The Development of Self-Complexity as Occupational Identity and Its Impact on Well-Being

Oksana Malanchuk

Emily Messersmith

Stephen C. Peck

Jacquelynne S. Eccles

University of Michigan


Acknowledgements

  • We thank the following people for their support of this project (listed alphabetically): Elaine Belansky, Todd Bartko, Heather Bouchey, Nick Butler, Celina Chatman, Diane Early, Kari Fraser, Leslie Gutman, Katie Jodl, Ariel Kalil, Linda Kuhn, Sarah Lord, Karen McCarty, Alice Michael, Melanie Overby, Robert Roeser, Sherri Steele, Erika Taylor, Janice Templeton, Cindy Winston, and Carol Wong

  • Data reported here come from grants to Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Arnold J. Sameroff from the MacArthur Network on Successful Adolescent Development in High Risk Settings (Chair: R. Jessor) and the National Institutes for Child Health and Human Development and to Jacquelynne S. Eccles from the W.T. Grant Foundation.


Overview

  • What does self-structure complexity look like?

  • How is self-structure complexity related to mental health?


Social Psychological Perspective

  • Individuals are agentic, proactive, and engage in self-regulation of their psychosocial development

  • Self-concept is complex, dynamic, and motivational

    • See Bandura, 1999; Markus and Wurf, 1986


Complexity of Self-Structure

  • Number of dimensions that comprise the self-concept (Linville, 1985)

  • Balance of positive and negative aspects of the self (Oyserman & Markus, 1990)

  • Organization or integration of multiple dimensions (Donahue, Robins, Roberts, & John, 1993)

  • Internal clarity and unity (Campbell, et al., 1996)


Complexity of Self-Structure

  • Our definition focuses on

    • Clarity

    • Integration


Sample

  • Ongoing longitudinal study: Maryland Adolescent Development In Context

  • Data collected during 7th grade, 8th grade, 11th grade, 1 year post high school, 3 years post high school

  • Began with almost 1500 participants; almost 900 remain


Demographics


Procedure

  • Face-to-face open-ended interviews in home (Grades 7, 8, 11)

  • Self-report questionnaire (all Waves)

  • Included questions about self-beliefs, school environment, family relations, romantic relationships, work


Occupational Theme

  • Most salient occupational goal

  • Grades 7 & 8 coded into broad categories

  • Grade 11 and post high school coded into more specific categories based on 1980 Census


Occupational Themes – Grade 8


Occupational Themes – Grade 11


Occupational Themes – 3 years post high school


Structure of Occupational Future Self

  • Participants’ responses coded across interview, within each wave

    • Desired jobs

    • Realistic future jobs

    • Wishes & million dollars

    • Heroes & role models

    • Current activities

    • Possible selves & strategies


Vague

  • This category was only used in 7th and 8th grades

  • Exhibited no occupational goal

  • In later waves, this category was broken into Unresolved and No Real Idea


Example: No Real Idea

  • Job desired at 30: Printing manager

  • Realistic job at 30: “Couldn’t even begin to say”

  • Obstacles: Death, jail

  • Current activity: N/A

  • Role model: N/A


Example: Unresolved

  • Job desired at 30: “I have no clue”

  • Realistic job at 30: “I have no clue”

  • Obstacles: None listed

  • Current activity: Studying hard

  • Role model: N/A

  • But… he was very happy to be accepted at and to attend Berkeley


Example: Conflicting

  • Job desired at 30: Computer technician

  • Realistic job at 30: Computer technician or musician

  • Obstacles: Lack of motivation

  • Current activity: Preparing to take a certification test

  • Wish: Finger strength and speed to be a better guitarist


Example: Clarified

  • Job desired at 30: Famous musician

  • Realistic job at 30: Famous musician

  • Obstacles: Broken hands

  • Current activity: N/A

  • Role model: A famous songwriter

  • Wish: Success in music


Example: Supported

  • Job desired at 30: Computer programmer

  • Realistic job at 30: Computer programmer

  • Obstacles: Competitive job market

  • Current activity: Putting effort into current job and college coursework

  • Role model: N/A


Example: Integrated

  • Job desired at 30: Researcher in biomedical engineering

  • Realistic job at 30: Family practice doctor

  • Obstacles: Low grades, low drive, lots of stress

  • Current activity: Looking for internships, studying hard

  • Role model: a mentor who is also a doctor


Structure of Occupational Future Self


Structure of Occupational Future Self


Structure of Occupational Future Self


Occupational Structure: High Socioeconomic Status


Occupational Structure: Mid Socioeconomic Status


Occupational Structure: Low Socioeconomic Status


Occupational Structure by Continuous Socioeconomic Status


Occupational Structure by Continuous Socioeconomic Status


Occupational Structure by Continuous Socioeconomic Status


Occupational Structure by Continuous Socioeconomic Status


Occupational Structure by Continuous Socioeconomic Status


Split Occupational Structure by Continuous Socioeconomic Status


Summary: Self-structure

  • Self-Structure

    • Developmental trend toward complexity (clarity) of self-structure

    • More pronounced among high SES


Summary: SES

  • SES appears to have some impact in the later years on the organization of the self-structure.

    • Developmental trend

    • Unresolved versus no real idea.

    • Transition period


Complexity and Mental Health

  • Linville’s (1985, 1987) self-complexity model

    • Self-complexity moderates the adverse impact of stress on depression and illness

  • Campbell et al.’s (1993; 2003) self-concept clarity

    • Clarity & internal consistency are positively correlated with self-esteem and negatively correlated with neuroticism, anxiety and depression


Occupational Identity and Mental Health

  • “In general it is primarily the inability to settle on an occupational identity which disturbs young people.”

    --Erikson, 1959, p.92


Mental Health Measures: Anger(range of alphas = .75 to.87)

During the last month, including today…

  • how often have you felt so angry that you wanted to smash or break something?

  • how often have you felt that you couldn’t control your temper?

  • how often have you felt so upset that you wanted to hit or hurt someone.

    1=almost never 2=once in a while 3=sometimes 4=often 5=almost always


Mental Health Measures: Depression (range of alphas=.77 to .80)

Please circle the answer that best describes feelings and ideas you have had in the past two weeks. I am sad..

  • 1=once in a while 2=many times 3=all the time

  • I feel like…

    • 1=nothing will ever work out for me 2=I am not sure if things will work out for me 3=things will work out for me O.K.

  • I am worthless…

    • 1=all the time 2=many times 3=once in a while

  • I feel like…

    • 1=I have myself 2=I do not like myself 3=I like myself

  • I feel like crying…

    • 1=every day 2=many days 3=once in a while

  • Things bother me…

    • 1=all the time 2=many times 3=once in a while

      Items were reverse coded before scaling.


  • Mental Health Measures: Resilience(range of alphas = .68 to .74)

    How often are you…

    • very good at figuring out problems nad planning how to solve them?

    • very good at carrying out the plans you make for solving problems?

    • good at learning from you mistakes

    • very good at bouncing back quickly from bad experiences?

      1=almost never 2=once in a while 3=sometimes 4=often 5=almost always


    Mental Health Measures: Self-esteem(range of alphas = .73 to .80)

    How often…

    • Do you wish you were different than you are? (R)

    • Would you like to change lots of things about you if you could? (R)

    • Are you pretty sure about yourself?

      1=almost never 2=once in a while 3=sometimes 4=often 5=almost always


    7th Grade Self-Structure Predicts:


    11th grade Self-structure predicts:


    Self-structure at 1 year post-h.s. predicts:


    Self-structure at 3 years post-h.s. predicts:


    Research Question

    Is it SES that’s the underlying cause of these mental health indicators and not the complexity of the self-structure?


    7th Grade Outcomes


    8th Grade Outcomes


    11th Grade Outcomes


    One Year Post-H.S. Outcomes


    Three Years Post-H.S. Outcomes


    Summary: Mental Health

    • Complexity (clarity) of self-structure has an impact on mental health

      • Early self-structure can predict later mental health

      • Developmental trend

      • SES important only in early years


    Some thoughts

    Highest levels of complexity are not always optimal.

    Being on-time with developmental tasks leads to better mental health.


    Thank you.

    For More Information:

    http://www.rcgd.isr.umich.edu/garp


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