Original Articles

South African Adolescents' Career Development through the Lens of the Systems Theory Framework: An Exploratory Study

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 4, 2008 , pages: 531–538
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820232
Author(s): Mary McMahonThe University of Queensland,, Mark WatsonNelson Mandela Metropolitan University,, Cheryl FoxcroftNelson Mandela Metropolitan University,, Asha DullabhNelson Mandela Metropolitan University,


Adolescent career development has predominantly been studied in the context of middle class Eurocentric cultures and there have been calls for greater attention to the career development of non-dominant and disadvantaged groups. Further, there have been calls to explore career development in terms of its context and process. In this regard, the need for research measures and approaches sensitive to adolescents and particular cultures has been recognised. This is particularly the case in South African career psychology. The present study used a qualitative career assessment instrument, My System of Career Influences, to explore influences on the career development of disadvantaged South African adolescents living in a children's home. Consistent with previous international and national studies, parents were shown to be an important influence. Unlike previous studies, the influence of working overseas was also identified as an important influence. The MSCI was shown to be effective in providing insight into both the context and process of career development and as a research instrument that may be used with adolescents. Recommendations for future research are made.

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