Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Rottinghaus, Patrick


The focus of the current study is to examine the role of parental social support in college students' career development process, specifically choosing a satisfying academic major. It is hypothesized that: 1. There is a positive correlation between overall score on the Social Support Behaviors (SS-B) and major satisfaction score, 2. The relationship between the overall SS-B score and major satisfaction is mediated by the college student's major/career exploration, and 3. The emotional support subscale explains the greatest variance in major satisfaction followed by practical assistance, advice/guidance, and financial assistance, and finally socializing. Participants consisted of traditional college students at the sophomore and junior level from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Measures include: the self and environmental exploration subscales of the Career Exploration Survey (CES; Stumpf, Solarelli, & Hartman, 1982), the Social Support Behaviors (SS-B) measure (Vaux, Riedel, & Setwart, 1987), and the Academic Major Satisfaction Scale (AMSS; Nauta, 2007). Although results of the primary hypotheses were nonsignificant, there were several relationships between modes of social support and career exploration variables. Specifically, self-exploration related positively to total social support from primary caregiver as well as practical assistance, and environmental exploration related significantly to financial support from secondary caregiver. Other exploratory results are presented and discussed related to parents' role in facilitating college students' career development. Future implications of the present study, which add to vocational literature on career satisfaction, are discussed in regard to both research and practice with a college student population.




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