Original Research

The psychometric relationship between career thinking and salutogenic functioning amongst unemployed adults

Kirk Austin, Frans Cilliers
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 37, No 1 | a969 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v37i1.969 | © 2011 Kirk Austin, Frans Cilliers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 February 2011 | Published: 10 November 2011

About the author(s)

Kirk Austin, University of South Africa, South Africa
Frans Cilliers, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Orientation: Corporate survival mechanisms, like mergers, downsizing, restructuring and outsourcing, contribute to unemployment levels amongst adults. Psychological maturity seems to influence the quality of the career decisions that people make in these difficult circumstances. However, we do not know what their behavioural strengths are.

Research objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the psychometric relationship between career thinking (negative and positive career thoughts) and salutogenic functioning (locus of control and sense of coherence) amongst unemployed adults.

Motivation for study: Career decision research has consistently surveyed students to understand career indecision. Adults are not a homogenous group. Therefore, this trend may not reflect throughout the larger adult population. For this reason, the researchers conducted exploratory research into the nature of career indecision amongst non-student adults.

Research design, approach and method: The researchers used a quantitative design that included a four-instrument survey on a purposive sample of 225 Canadian unemployed and non-student adults who had not decided on a career. They calculated correlations and regressions.

Main findings: The researchers reported significant relationships between the four constructs. They found that a sense of coherence predicted career thinking.

Contribution/value-add: A sense of coherence, which includes comprehension, meaningfulness and manageability, acts as a facilitator of effective career thinking.

Practical/managerial implications: During career assessment and guidance, the role of sense of coherence as a strength factor will indicate the person’s readiness to make important career decisions.


negative career thoughts; career decision making self efficacy; locus of control; sense of coherence; unemployed non-student adults


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