>Adolescents in one-parent families: A previously unnoticed group in inclusive career education?

Adolescents in one-parent families: A previously unnoticed group in inclusive career education?

Choosing a vocation is an important developmental task. To foster this task in senses of creating an individually successful career, adolescents need support to manage this process. Career development is strongly influenced by socio-economic factors, among others, children from families with lower income are at a disadvantage (Eshelman & Rottinghaus, 2015).
In Germany, one-parent families are at a higher risk of social decline into precarious circumstances, which in turn results in poorer educational opportunities for their children (Bartels & Stockhausen, 2017). Studies have also shown that career development is positively related to support from parents and teachers (Mayhack & Kracke, 2010; Schindler, 2012). We therefore investigate a) whether adolescents in one-parent families differently perceive parental support and b) whether they demonstrate a lower development level in terms of career competence.
The study is based on the theoretical model of career competence by Driesel-Lange, Hany, Kracke, and Schindler (2010). The 3,187 students in this sample were 16.38 years old on average (SD = 1.64) and enrolled in one of eleven German secondary schools. The data came from the second time point in a five-wave longitudinal study.
Conducting an analysis of variance with family composition as independent variable and perceived parental support as dependent variable, we found lower mean levels of perceived parental support for adolescents in one-parent families in comparison to those living with both their parents. Hierarchical linear regressions, furthermore, showed that adolescents living in one-parent families had in average a lower development regarding four of twelve career competence facets, namely: occupational knowledge, career curiosity, exploration and self-regulation. Also, higher teacher support predicted a higher mean level of these facets. Effects of family composition in this analysis were like those of the family’s socio-economic status. Limitations, future research and practical implications are discussed.