The Impact of Family Interaction Patterns on the Identity Orientation and Career Exploration and Decision Making Processes of College Students

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Spring 2016


There has been significant research highlighting the impact of the family on the identity development (Marcia, 1966) particularly the vocational identity development of the young adult (Whiston & Keller, 2004). Several researchers suggest that the ways in which family members interact with each other affect the ways in which the young adult members of the family approach making vocational decisions (Whiston, 1996). There is disagreement however in determining how a career commitment is made and what influences are involved in making a career decision. The purpose of this research was to examine the relationships among family interaction patterns, identity formation orientations of young adults, and the process of making career decisions. Career decisions can include decisions that have come from personal exploration, decisions that are primarily based on the opinions of others, and decisions that were made under pressure from circumstances. The failure to make any decision or career indecisiveness could also be impacted by family interactions and identity development. Two hundred and forty-five college students completed the Family Environment Scale (Moos & Moos, 1994) and the Revised Identity Style Inventory (Berzonsky, 2004) and answered questions related to their exploration activities and level of decidedness in choosing a career. The participants’ answers were compiled and multivariate analyses of variances were performed to investigate the relationships among the variables. Significant relationships were found among the family interaction patterns and identity development orientations. The results of the investigation also indicated that career exploration activities and career decidedness were significantly related to family patterns of expressiveness and cohesiveness and identity development orientations.


Chester Robinson

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences