Facilitating engagement in new career goals: the moderating effects of personal resources and career actions

  • Anna PraskovaEmail author
  • Peter A. Creed
  • Michelle Hood


Goal engagement in young adults is variable. We recruited university students to test whether general personal characteristics (educational ability, core self-evaluations, and well-being; study 1, N = 195) and career adaptive variables (career confidence, exploration, and planning; study 2, N = 152) facilitated career goal engagement. Goal engagement was associated positively with goal disengagement in study 1. Moderating effects showed that the positive relationship between engagement and disengagement was stronger when core self-evaluations and well-being (satisfaction) were high, and when career confidence, exploration, and planning were high. Results are discussed in the context of transitions and promoting adaptable career goals.


Goal disengagement Goal engagement Career actions Self-evaluations 


Faciliter l’engagement dans de nouveaux objectifs de carrière: les effets modérateurs de ressources personnelles et des actions professionnelles. Le niveau d’engagement envers des objectifs est variable chez les jeunes adultes. Nous avons recruté des étudiants à l’université afin de vérifier si des caractéristiques personnelles générales (aptitudes, auto-évaluations centrales, et le bien-être; étude 1, N = 195) et des variables liées à l’adaptabilité de carrière (confiance de carrière, exploration et planification; étude 2, N = 152) facilitaient l’engagement envers des objectifs de carrière. L’engagement envers des objectifs est associé positivement avec le désengagement envers des objectifs dans l’étude 1. Les effets modérateurs montrent que la relation positive entre l’engagement et le désengagement est plus forte lorsque les auto-évaluations centrales et le bien-être (satisfaction) sont élevés, et lorsque la confiance de carrière, l’exploration et la planification sont élevées. Les résultats sont discutés dans le contexte de la transition et de la promotion des objectifs de carrière liés à l’adaptabilité.


Erleichterung des Engagements für neue Karriere-Ziele: Die moderierenden Auswirkungen von persönlichen Ressourcen und Karrierehandlungen. Zielengagement bei jungen Erwachsenen ist variabel. Wir rekrutierten Universitätsstudenten, um zu testen, ob allgemeine persönliche Eigenschaften (schulische Fähigkeit, fundamentale Selbst-Evaluationen und Wohlbefinden; Studie 1, N = 195) und Variablen der Karriere-Adaptabilität (Karriere Zutrauen, Exploration und Planung; Studie 2, N = 152) das Engagement für Berufsziele erleichtert. Zielengagement war positiv mit Rückzug von Zielen in Studie 1 verbunden. Moderationseffekte zeigten, dass die positive Beziehung zwischen Engagement und Rückzug von Zielen stärker war, wenn fundamentale Selbst-Evaluationen und Wohlbefinden (Zufriedenheit) hoch waren und wenn Karriere Zutrauen, Exploration und Planung hoch waren. Die Ergebnisse werden im Kontext von Übergängen und der Förderung von anpassungsfähigen Karrierezielen diskutiert.


Facilitando el Compromiso en Nuevas Metas de Carrera: Los efectos Moderadores de Recursos Personales y de Acciones de Carrera. El compromiso de metas es variable en los adultos. Recrutamos estudiantes de universidades para verificar si características personales generales (habilidad educacional, autoevaluaciones centrales y bienestar; Estudio 1, N = 195) y variables adaptativas de carrera (confianza profesional, exploración y planificación; Estudio 2, N = 152) facilitaban el compromiso de metas de carrera. El compromiso de metas fue asociado positivamente con falta de metas en el Estudio 1. Efectos de moderación mostraron que la relación positiva entre compromiso y falta de compromiso era mas fuerte cuando las autoevaluación centrales y el bienestar (satisfacción) eran altos, y cuando la confianza de carrera, la exploración y la planificación eran altos. Los resultados son discutidos en un contexto de transición y promoción adaptable a las metas de carrera.


  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, S. L., & Betz, N. E. (2001). Sources of social self-efficacy expectations: Their measurement and relation to career development. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 58, 98–117. doi: 10.1006/jvbe.2000.1753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aspinwall, L. G., & Richter, L. (1999). Optimism and self-mastery predict more rapid disengagement from unsolvable tasks in the presence of alternatives. Motivation and Emotion, 23, 221–245. doi: 10.1023/A:1021367331817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Austin, J. T., & Vancouver, J. B. (1996). Goal constructs in psychology: Structure, process, and content. Psychological Bulletin, 120, 338–375. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.120.3.338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bandura, A., & Locke, E. A. (2003). Negative self-efficacy and goal effects revisited. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 87–99. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.88.1.87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Betz, N. E., Klein, K. L., & Taylor, K. M. (1996). Evaluation of a short form of the career-decision-making self-efficacy scale. Journal of Career Assessment, 4, 47–57. doi: 10.1177/106907279600400103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Betz, N. E., & Luzzo, D. A. (1996). Career assessment and the career decision-making self-efficacy scale. Journal of Career Assessment, 4, 413–428. doi: 10.1177/106907279600400405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1998). On the self-regulation of behavior. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Creed, P. A., & Blume, K. (2013). Compromise, well-being, and action behaviours in young adults in career transition. Journal of Career Assessment, 21, 3–19. doi: 10.1177/1069072712453830.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Creed, P. A., Fallon, T., & Hood, M. (2009). The relationship between career adaptability, person and situation variables, and concerns in young adults. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74, 219–229. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2008.12.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Creed, P. A., & Hood, M. (2013). Disengaging from unattainable career goals and re-engaging in more achievable ones. Journal of Career Development. doi: 10.1177/0894845312471195.
  12. Dawson, J. F., & Richter, A. W. (2006). Probing three-way interactions in moderated multiple regression: Development and application of a slope difference test. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 917–926. doi: 10.1016/S0021-9010(06)61901-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Wit, M., Delemarre-Van De Waal, H., Pouwer, F., Gemke, R. J., & Snoek, F. J. (2007). Validation of the WHO-5 well-being index in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 30, 2003–2006. doi: 10.2337/dc07-0447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa4901_13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duke, J., Leventhal, H., Brownlee, S., & Leventhal, E. A. (2002). Giving up and replacing activities in response to illness. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 57B, 367–376. doi: 10.1093/geronb/57.4.P367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fouad, N. A., Smith, P. L., & Enochs, L. (1997). Reliability and validity evidence for the middle school self-efficacy scale. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 39, 17–31.Google Scholar
  17. Greenhaus, J. (1971). An investigation of the role of career salience in vocational behavior. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 1, 209–216. doi: 10.1016/0001-8791(71)90022-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hall, D. T., & Chandler, D. E. (2005). Psychological success: When the career is a calling. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26, 155–176. doi: 10.1002/job.301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heckhausen, J., Wrosch, C., & Schulz, R. (2010). A motivational theory of life-span development. Psychological Review, 117, 32–60. doi: 10.1037/a0017668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Judge, T. A., Erez, A., Bono, J. E., & Thoresen, C. J. (2003). The core self-evaluations scale. Personnel Psychology, 56, 303–331. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2003.tb00152.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lightfoot, M., & Healy, C. (2001). Career development, coping, and emotional distress in youth living with HIV. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 48, 484–489. doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.48.4.484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Miller, G. E., & Wrosch, C. (2007). You’ve gotta know when to fold ‘em: Goal disengagement and systematic inflammation in adolescence. Psychological Science, 18, 773–777. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01977.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Neter, E., Litvak, A., & Miller, A. (2009). Goal disengagement and goal re-engagement among multiple sclerosis patients: Relationship to well-being and illness representation. Psychology and Health, 24, 175–186. doi: 10.1080/08870440701668665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. O’Connor, R. C., & Forgan, G. (2007). Suicidal thinking and perfectionism: The role of goal adjustment and behavioural inhibition/activation systems (BIS/BAS). Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 25, 321–341. doi: 10.1007/s10942-007-0057-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Phillips, S. D., & Blustein, D. L. (1994). Readiness for career choices: Planning, exploring, and deciding. The Career Development Quarterly, 43, 63–71. doi: 10.1002/j.2161-0045.1994.tb00847.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rasmussen, H. N., Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (2006). Self-regulation processes and health: The importance of optimism and goal adjustment. Journal of Personality, 74, 1721–1748. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2006.00426.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Robitschek, C., & Cook, S. W. (1999). The influence of personal growth initiative and coping styles on career exploration and vocational identity. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 54, 127–141. doi: 10.1006/jvbe.1998.1650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Savickas, M. L. (1997). Career adaptability. The Career Development Quarterly, 45, 247–259. doi: 10.1002/j.2161-0045.1997.tb00469.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Savickas, M. L. (1999). The transition from school to work. The Career Development Quarterly, 47, 326–336. doi: 10.1002/j.2161-0045.1999.tb00741.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schroevers, M., Kraaij, V., & Garnefski, N. (2008). How do cancer patients manage unattainable personal goals and regulate their emotions? British Journal of Health Psychology, 13, 551–562. doi: 10.1348/135910707X241497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shulman, S., & Nurmi, J. (2010a). Dynamics of goal pursuit and personality make-up among emerging adults. In S. Shulman & J. Nurmi (Eds.), The role of goals in navigating individual lives during emerging adulthood (pp. 57–70). San Francisco: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Shulman, S., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2010b). Understanding emerging adulthood from a goal-setting perspective. In S. Shulman & J.-E. Nurmi (Eds.), The role of goals in navigating individual lives during emerging adulthood (pp. 1–11). San Francisco: Wiley.Google Scholar
  33. Skorikov, V. (2007). Continuity in adolescent career preparation and its effects on adjustment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 70, 8–24. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2006.04.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stumpf, S. A., Colarelli, S. M., & Hartman, K. (1983). Development of the Career Exploration Survey (CES). Journal of Vocational Behavior, 22, 191–226. doi: 10.1016/0001-8791(83)90028-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tosevski, D. L., Milovancevic, M. P., & Gajic, S. D. (2010). Personality and psychopathology of university students. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 23, 48–52. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b01e328333d625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. World Health Organization. (1998). Collaborating Centre in mental health. WHO (Five) Well-being Index. Psychiatric Research Unit, Frederiksborg General Hospital. HillerØd, Denmark: Author. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from
  37. Wrosch, C., Amir, E., & Miller, G. E. (2011). Goal adjustment capacities, coping, and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 934–946. doi: 10.1037/a0022873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wrosch, C., & Miller, G. E. (2009). Depressive symptoms can be useful: Self-regulatory and emotional benefits of dysphoric mood in adolescence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1181–1190. doi: 10.1037/a0015172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wrosch, C., Miller, G. E., Scheier, M. F., & Brun de Pontet, S. (2007). Giving up on unattainable goals: Benefits for health? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 251–265. doi: 10.1177/0146167206294905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wrosch, C., & Scheier, M. F. (2003). Personality and quality of life: The importance of optimism and goal adjustment. Quality of Life Research, 12, 59–72. doi: 10.1023/A:1023529606137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Schulz, R. (2003a). The importance of goal disengagement in adaptive self-regulation: When giving up is beneficial. Self and Identity, 2, 1–20. doi: 10.1080/15298860309021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wrosch, C., Scheier, M. F., Miller, G. E., Schulz, R., & Carver, C. S. (2003b). Adaptive self-regulation of unattainable goals: Goal disengagement, goal reengagement, and subjective well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1494–1508. doi: 10.1177/0146167203256921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zikic, J., & Klehe, U.-C. (2006). Job loss as a blessing in disguise: The role of career exploration and career planning in predicting reemployment quality. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 69, 391–409. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2006.05.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied Psychology, Griffith Health InstituteGriffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia

Personalised recommendations