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Between- and within-person level motivational precursors associated with career exploration

Andreas Hirschi

Lee, B., Porfeli, E. J., & Hirschi, A. (2016). Between- and within-person level motivational precursors associated with career exploration. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 92, 125-134, doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2015.11.009


Career exploration is a critical process for child and adolescent development leading people toward suitable work and developing a vocational identity. The present study examined the role of motivational precursors, namely work valences and personal agency beliefs, in explaining in-breadth and in-depth career exploration. Given the dynamic nature of motivation, we teased apart the between-person differences and within-person variabilities in motivational precursors to examine how they are independently associated with career exploration. Two hundred one high school students comprised the sample and were surveyed three consecutive years. Results revealed that work valences and agency beliefs were associated with career exploration at both the between- and within-person level. Further, when individuals exhibited greater level of agency beliefs and positive valences, they were more likely to exhibit more in-depth exploration one year later. Implications for career guidance are discussed.