The effects of DISCOVER career guidance software on career decision-making self-efficacy of adolescents in foster care
Richard G. Brake, Our Lady of the Lake University, United States
Our Lady of the Lake University . Awarded
This study tested the effects of the multimedia computer-assisted career guidance system DISCOVER (ACT, 1998) on the career decision-making self-efficacy of adolescents in foster care. Literature is reviewed regarding the effectiveness of career counseling interventions, and the effectiveness of computer software in delivering career information, particularly the DISCOVER program. Additionally, literature is reviewed regarding the growing number of adolescents in foster care, many of whom will remain in care until reaching the age of majority. A primary need for these youth is assistance in making the transition to independent living, including career guidance. Prior to this study, neither DISCOVER nor the Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Scale (Taylor & Betz, 1983) has been tested with adolescents in foster care.
Participants were 54 adolescents in foster care. A three group pretest-posttest experimental design was used. Outcome measures were a modified version of Taylor and Betz's (1983) Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Scale (CDMSE), and an open ended question about job interests. The two experimental groups received either personalized feedback linking their inventory results to their use of DISCOVER, or general information about jobs as they used DISCOVER. The control group took the interest inventory but did not use DISCOVER further until after taking the outcome measures. It was hypothesized that using DISCOVER would provide a vicarious learning experience for participants, resulting in an increase in their career decision-making self-efficacy ratings, and that those receiving personalized feedback would show the most change.
There were no differences among the groups in average CDMSE change scores. However, significant differences among the groups were found in variables created to analyze responses to an open-ended question about jobs in which they had interest. For example, the general information group listed significantly fewer jobs at posttest than at pretest, compared to the control group. Additionally, significant correlations were found among several of the continuous variables. One such finding was that the adolescents' Level of Care ratings correlated strongly with mean change scores on the CDMSE. Results called into question some of the theoretical assumptions made about career self-efficacy in foster adolescents, but also provided new information that will be useful in both further research and practice with this population (e.g., the potential role of Level of Care). Conclusions and recommendations are given regarding the use of DISCOVER as a useful way to address the career exploration and planning needs of adolescents in foster care.
Brake, R.G. The effects of DISCOVER career guidance software on career decision-making self-efficacy of adolescents in foster care. Ph.D. thesis, Our Lady of the Lake University.
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