The Influence Experience of Family Strengths on Adolescent’s Career Purpose Development

Yu Chen Wang*, Chia Hui Lin, Yi Hsin Liu, Tzu Jung Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Career-oriented purpose (Damon, 2008) is an inner, firm intention toward one’s future career, which brings pleasure, satisfaction, and meaningfulness to individuals. The exploration of career-oriented purpose specifically focuses on adolescents or young students without any work experience, probing into their plans and ideas for their future careers and their reflections after their attempt to act. The benefits that career-oriented purpose brings to adolescents not only deeply influences these adolescents’ careers but also their personal self-identity and lives. The development of career-orientation purpose is greatly under the influence of one’s cultural background and experience of growth, yet only a small number of studies explore the family context within which the career-oriented purpose development in adolescents is influenced. The current study was based on family strengths, exploring the family strengths factors that influence the career-oriented purpose in adolescents and understanding the influences on the career-oriented purpose development. Overall, the purpose of this study was to explore parents’ and their children’s family strengths experience, which facilitate the development and the influence process of career-oriented purpose development in adolescents. The research questions addressed in the current study are as follow: (1)What are the facilitating factors and family strengths with which the awareness of parents facilitates the development of their adolescent children’s career-oriented purpose? (2) What are the family strengths with which the awareness of adolescent facilitates their career-oriented purpose development? (3) What are the influential experiences of family strengths in the career-oriented purpose development? (4) What are the family strengths that facilitate the career-oriented purpose in children? The participants (N = 30) were 15 students along with one of their parents. The student participants were 6 boys and 9 girls between 14 and 23 years old (M = 17.87, SD = 2.95). Four of them were junior high school students, four were senior high students, 6 were college students and 1 was a graduate school student. The parent participants were 11 mothers and 4 fathers between 39 and 59 years old (M = 47.93, SD = 5.46). We conducted one-to-one individual interviews with the participants based on a semi-structured interview prototype and the collected data were analyzed with qualitative grounded theory. The parent interview questions are divided into four concepts: (1) The concept related to careers–the influence that the parents give to or the action that they take for their children, addressing questions like “what do you do to assist your children in exploring their interests?” (2) The concept related to family strengths or memorable moments that the parents bring to their children, addressing questions like “what are the things that you like most about your family?” and “how do these things influence your children’s ambition development.” (3) The concept related to conflicts and challenges, addressing questions like “when confronting conflicts or disagreement with your children when you have different opinions toward their career choices, what have you been doing to cope with these conflicts?” (4) The concept related to adjustment and reflections, addressing questions like “what do you realize or learn most after you have experience of dealing with your children’s parental education?” The children interview questions are divided into four concepts: (1) The concept related to family-related aspects that influence their ambitions, addressing questions like “what roles do your families play during the development of your ambition?” (2) The concept related to family strengths or memorable moments related to their family, addressing questions like “what are the things that you like your family most?” and “do these things have influence on your career ambition?” (3) The concept related to conflicts and challenges, addressing questions like “what do you and your parents do to cope with the pressure related to your career choice?” (4) The concept related to overall influence and feedback, addressing questions like “what do your family bring to you on the path to achieve your ambition?” and “what impressed you the most and what did you learn from this experience?” After we explained and clarified the relevant information to the participants via invitation letters, the participants signed the consent letters and joined the research study. The current study provided complete training to the interviewers, conducted pilot study, and fully explained interview procedures to the school guidance and counseling office, which served as a gatekeeper to protect the rights and welfare of the participants. We also gave a gift around NTD200 to each participant as a token of appreciation for their participation. The current study is based on credibility, transferability, reliability, and verifiability (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) as the indicators to verify the reliability of the study. For study reliability, the interviewers in the current study wrote counseling notes after every interview. Besides, we conducted study analysis with research analysts to triangulate research findings. Family strengths in the perspectives of parents consists of career aspects and general aspects. Career aspects show that the elements of family strengths are derived from career aspects, including valuing and encouraging children’s efforts, providing resources and participating, openness and independence, career support and affirmation, flexible and adjustable parenting attitude towards different personalities and needs, and being a role model for children. General aspects in family strengths indicate general, comprehensive, and complete strengths in life. These general aspects are not prone to career aspects but include an expectation to convey an idea and company and a close connection to one another. Family strengths in the perspectives of children are respectively induced into career and general aspects based on analysis results of the study. Career aspects refer to the strengths that are prone to career strengths, including the guidance on and encouragement to career exploration, learning from their parents who are their role models, financial and informational support, being liberal and supportive, and a flexible and adjustable way of parenting. General aspects are related to the family strengths in life and other fields, including receiving expectation and building life value, caring, trust and close, intimate interaction. Facilitating factors of family strengths experience from parents include the ability to reflect and get feedback and learning from parental roles, valuing family beliefs and commitment, past career experience, work resources and influential experiences, religious beliefs, and strengths obtained from other resource. The influences of family strengths experience on children’s career development include enlightenment ambition exploring, career concern and thoughts initiating, career information obtaining and career direction confirming, career direction establishing and action strengthening, career calling value setting, multi-adaptability developing, and career confidence and motivation gaining. After the results were induced, the career-oriented purpose developed is beneficial to family strengths experience, and its significance and meaningfulness further formed a dynamic family strengths system. Family strengths share some aspects between parents and children, and the constructed dynamic family strengths system influences career-oriented purpose in children as well as reinforces parenting experience in return. The cycle of this dynamic system continuously progresses as children grow with time. Based on the results, the study established an impact process model of a family strengths to facilitate career-oriented purpose development. We also make some suggestion for practitioners: (1) Parents play key roles in promoting family strengths for adolescents. Counseling practitioners are suggested to assist parents by empowering them in developing more facilitating factors of family strengths developed in the current study. For example, counseling practitioners may guide parents to reflect and learn parenting roles as well as examine past experience of growth and value passed on in the family to increase awareness of related strengths. In this way, parents may understand more internal and external resources, with which children may utilize to face challenges. (2) Family educationist may advocate the importance of parenting relationship and family time, encouraging to cultivate more family strengths. (3) Career practitioners may put emphasis on the importance of parents’ involvement and participation in their children’s career exploration. Career practitioners are suggested to lead investigations into family strengths for adolescents to reinforce their action and sense of hope. Family value and value that are passed on are subtle but significant family strengths. Parents and children can work together to explore, realize, and exert the influence of family strengths. Future studies may include other contexts involved with career-oriented strengths. They may also develop a family strengths scale for adolescents to further explore the correlations among important career-related variables of family strengths, career-oriented purpose, and career adaptabilities and the correlations among variables of family strengths, personal strengths, and career-oriented purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalBulletin of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • career-oriented purpose
  • family strengths
  • grounded analysis
  • parent-child

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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