Psychosocial Development Factors Associated with Occupational and Vocational Identity Between Infancy and Adolescence
Published on Dec 1, 2016
· DOI :10.1007/s40894-016-0027-y
The identification with an occupation is a challenge most adolescents face in their transition into adulthood. Psychosocial development theory suggests that adolescents’ identification with an occupation develops across the lifespan, making youth work roles, choices, and behaviors products of their integrated psychosocial development experiences. This review examines the existing occupational and vocational identity literature to identify the associations with factors relevant to psychosocial development between infancy and adolescence, and integrates them to provide a more comprehensive understanding of how adolescents identify with an occupation. The review reveals that the factors important to healthy psychosocial development in each of Erikson’s five pre-adult stages largely were predictive of occupational identity status in adolescence. Disagreement was present in the literature, with most of it centered on the role of complex outer and environmental factors. The review highlights gaps in the literature and prioritizes areas for future research based largely on a return to Erikson’s intention of treating occupational identity as developmental. The review adds to the current debates and knowledge of youth development and of how adolescents identify with an occupation by providing an integration of the existing empirical evidence not just at the point of adolescence, but also across the entire pre-adult lifespan.