Examining career interest and barriers with adjudicated youth in detention
Mann, Lauren Elizabeth
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There is a paucity of literature related to the use of career assessment and career theory with juvenile offenders. The present study attempts to bridge this gap by piloting the use of the Self-Directed Search Fifth Edition (SDS; Holland & Messer, 2013), and by exploring theoretical models of career interest and career self-efficacy with detained juvenile offenders. Participants were adolescents (N = 97), who were detained at a short-term Youth Detention Center in the Southeastern United States at the time of the study. The results of this study indicate good psychometric properties of Self-Directed Search Fifth Edition with juvenile offenders. Significant differences were found between the juvenile offender sample and normative high school sample on the Realistic, Investigative, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional themes, but these results differed by gender. In addition, female offenders reported greater barriers in future college pursuits than did male offenders. Study results did not support the initial model domain-specific self-efficacy on the Investigative theme. However, results indicated that male and female juvenile offenders reported significantly different scores on Realistic and Social themes, indicating that gender is a significant predictor of interest on these two themes for juvenile offenders. These results provide support for the use of the Self-Directed Search fifth edition with juvenile offenders, and provide implications for vocational program development for youth in detention that capitalizes on the use of psychometrically sounds assessment tools and theory.