by James P. Sampson, Jr., PhD, Gary W. Peterson, PhD, Janet G. Lenz, PhD, Robert C. Reardon, PhD, Denise E. Saunders, PhD
Purpose: Assist in career problem solving and decision making in adults, secondary school and university students.
Age: Adolescent, Adult, Elder Adult
Admin: Self-administered; Individual or group
Time: 7-15 minutes
Qualification Level: A (Psychologist)
The Career Thoughts Inventory is a self-administered and objectively scored assessment designed to improve the effectiveness of career counselling and guidance for adults, university students, and secondary school students. The Career Thoughts Inventory can be used to identify an individual who is likely to need counselling assistance; to identify the nature of an individual's career problems; and to help an individual identify, challenge, and alter negative career thoughts that interfere with effective career decision making.
Clients complete the Career Thoughts Inventory Test Booklet, responding to each of the 48 items using a 4-point rating scale (Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree). The Career Thoughts Inventory can be completed in 7 to 15 minutes and hand-scored and profiled in about 5 minutes. The Career Thoughts Inventory yields a Career Thoughts Inventory Total score (a single global indicator of negative thinking in career problem solving and decision making) as well as scores on 3 construct scales:
- Decision Making Confusion (14 items). This scale reflects an inability to initiate or sustain the decision-making process as a result of disabling emotions and/or a lack of understanding about the decision-making process itself.
- Commitment Anxiety (10 items). This scale reflects an inability to make a commitment to a specific career choice, accompanied by generalised anxiety about the outcome of the decision-making process that perpetuates the indecision.
- External Conflict (5 items). This scale reflects an inability to balance the importance of one's own self-perceptions with the importance of input from significant others, resulting in a reluctance to assume responsibility for decision making.
The Career Thoughts Inventory Workbook helps clients to understand the nature of their negative thoughts as well as how much help they are likely to need in order to make effective use of career services. The Workbook is also useful in counselling interventions to help individuals challenge and alter specific negative thoughts. A decision-making checklist, included in the Workbook, indicates useful areas for specific instruction in career decision making. In evaluation, the Career Thoughts Inventory provides a measure of learning outcomes associated with various counselling and guidance interventions.
The Career Thoughts Inventory was standardised on a national sample of over 1,500 adults, college students, and high school students. It has been shown to be a reliable and valid measure of negative career thinking. The scales of the Career Thoughts Inventory are internally consistent (mean a = .86 for construct scales in the standardisation sample) and stable (test-retest r for the Career Thoughts Inventory Total score = .77), and the instrument exhibits reasonable content, convergent, predictive, and construct validity. The Career Thoughts Inventory Professional Manual describes test development, reliability and validity studies; guidelines for administration, scoring, and interpretation; case studies, and ideas for interventions.