Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Title

Psychological Birth Order and Career Adaptability in an At-Risk College Population

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Counselor Education

First Advisor

Kevin B. Stoltz

Second Advisor

Susan Mossing

Third Advisor

Lori Wolff

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the psychological birth order and career adaptability of college students who were at-risk academically. Psychological birth order is a main construct from the Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler (1927, 1946). Adler posited that individuals discover life differently when they perceive the world from different birth positions. The literature on psychological birth order outlined four birth order positions: firstborn child, middle born child, youngest child, and only child (White, Campbell, Stewart, & Davies, 1997). The psychological birth order of each participant was assessed using the Psychological Birth Order Inventory (PBOI) (Campbell, White, & Stewart, 1991). The participants were placed in groups according to their psychological birth order results from the PBOI. Also, this study assessed for levels of career adaptability. Career adaptability was defined by Savickas (2002) as "the attitudes, competencies, and behaviors that individuals use in fitting themselves to work that suits them" (Savickas, 2005, p. 45). The participants were given the Career Adapt-Abilities Survey (CAAS) to assess the level of adaptability across four dimensions: concern, control, curiosity, and confidence (Savickas, 2005). The results of the CAAS were compared to the population parameters using multiple one-sample t-tests. The researcher used the Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric test to analyze the data collected from the PBOI and the CAAS. Psychological birth order was the grouping variable, and the four dimensions of career adaptability were the dependent variables. Results of the Kruskal-Wallis test and the one-sample t-tests are discussed.

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