A cross-cultural study of career maturity in Australia and Thailand

Hughes, C 2011, A cross-cultural study of career maturity in Australia and Thailand, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Health Sciences, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title A cross-cultural study of career maturity in Australia and Thailand
Author(s) Hughes, C
Year 2011
Abstract Relationships between career maturity and self-concept, parenting style and individualism-collectivism across Australian and Thai cultural contexts were investigated. Guided by Berry’s (1969) etic-emic model for adapting psychological measurement instruments for cross-cultural research the Career Planning and Career Exploration scales of Australian Career Development Inventory (Lokan, 1984), The Self-Description Questionnaire II (Marsh, 1992), the Parental Bonding Instrument (Parker, Tupling, & Brown, 1979), and the “I am … Test” (Kuhn & McPartland, 1954) were adapted for a Thai cultural context and cross-cultural research. Data were gathered from 159 Grade 9 and Grade 11 students in Thailand and 218 Grade 9 and Grade 11 students in Australia. Internal consistency reliability coefficients were adequate for the Thai adaptations of the Career Planning Scale, the Parental Bonding Instrument and Self-Description Questionnaire II. Thai test-retest reliability coefficients over a 10-day interval were adequate except for the Same Sex Relations, General Self and Father Overprotection scales. Principal component analyses and computation of congruence coefficients were performed to establish construct validity. With the removal of two items, derived etic status was achieved for the Career Planning scale, the Same Sex Relations, Opposite Sex Relations, Parent Relations, Mathematics and Verbal self-concept scales, and the parental Care and Overprotection scales.

Same sex relations, opposite sex relations, parent relations, mathematics and verbal self-concepts and father care were significantly related to career planning for the Australian cultural group. However, the correlation coefficients between career planning and the self-concept and parenting variables for the Thai cultural group were weak and failed to reach significance. Individualism-collectivism was unrelated to career planning in both cultural groups, although the Thai group was significantly more collectivist than the Australian group. Grade, same sex relations, opposite sex relations, parent relations, verbal and mathematics self-concepts and father care significantly predicted career planning for the Australian cultural group and mathematics and verbal self-concepts and grade were significant individual predictors.

This study highlighted the need for rigour when adapting psychological instruments for cross-cultural research and produced reliable, cross-culturally valid and unbiased scales to measure career planning attitudes, domain-specific self-concept and parenting style across Thai and Australian cultural contexts and a linguistically equivalent measure of individualism-collectivism. Overall, this study showed that career maturity is influenced by cultural context. In an Australian context, high school students, especially females who view themselves positively with regard to general intelligence, who have positive peer and parent relationships, and who perceive their paternal parent to display a caring parenting style are more likely to have positive attitudes towards planning for their future learning and career pathways. However, these relationships were not replicated with a sample of Thai high school students. Accordingly, this study demonstrated that correlates of career maturity found in one cultural context cannot be assumed to apply in alternative cultural contexts and highlighted the need for further cross-cultural research to improve the cross-cultural relevance of the career maturity construct.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Health Sciences
Keyword(s) Cross-cultural research
career maturity
self-concept
parenting style
measurement in cross-cultural psychology
Australia
Thailand
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