Career adaptability profiles and their relationship to adaptivity and adapting
Research on career adaptability predominantly uses variable-centered approaches that focus on the average effects in terms of the predictors and outcomes within a given sample. Extending this research, the present paper used a person-centered approach to determine whether subgroups with distinct adaptability profiles in terms of concern, control, curiosity and confidence can be identified. We also explored the relationship between the various adaptability profiles and adapting (career planning, career decision-making difficulties, career exploration, and occupational self-efficacy beliefs) and adaptivity (core self-evaluations and proactivity). Using latent profile analysis, we found distinct adaptability profiles among 350 German university students. Students with different profiles differed significantly in their levels of adapting. This finding was confirmed in a second study of 1226 students selected from the same population. In both samples, the adaptability profiles differed mainly in terms of their adaptability levels but not their shape. Moreover, in both samples, the students whose profiles indicated generally higher adaptability showed more adapting compared with the students whose profiles indicated generally lower adaptability. Study 2 also showed that students with higher-adaptability profiles showed significantly higher adaptivity. The results suggest that level effects dominate adaptability profiles, implying the existence of a general adaptability factor within university students that is meaningfully related to adapting and adaptivity.