Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Department name when degree awarded

Educational Psychology

Committee Chair(s)

John R. Cragun


John R. Cragun


Arden N. Frandsen


David R. Stone


Heber C. Sharp


James P. Shaver


This study attempted to investigate the relationship of occupational choice to ego identity achievement, to self-concept, and to academic achievement, as these are related to Eric Erikson's contention that is adolescents' inability to settle on an occupational choice which disturbs them and results in a sense of identity diffusion (lack of solidified ideas of self, goals for life, and a need to seek external supports).

The sample consisted of 320 senior high school boys in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades.

Variables considered included: level of vocational commitment; ego identity; self-regard, i.e., self-concept, self-acceptance, ideal self and adjustment (sum of discrepancies between self and ideal self); and academic achievement, i.e., achievers or underachievers.

The variables were treated by means of analysis of covariance, controlling for intelligence, Duncan range test, chi-square analysis, and Pearson product-moment correlations.

Results of the analysis of data revealed that significant differences existed between adolescents who had expressed vocational commitments and adolescents who were vocationally undecided on (a) ego identity achievement, and (b) self-concept.

In considering characteristics of those making or not making a vocational choice, it was found that level of vocational commitment of senior high school boys tends to be dependent on length of time the choice is considered, the amount of feedback and discussion with parents concerning the choice, father's occupation, and the influence of significant others. Another finding was that the verbalized vocational choice of adolescents is consistent with their measured interest. Ego identity was found to be nonsignificantly correlated with achievement and intelligence. Ego identity, self-concept, and self-acceptance have positive and significant intercorrelations (.01 level). It was concluded that adolescents who have not made a vocational commitment, demonstrate a greater degree of identity diffusion--lower ego identity achievement and lower self-concept--than adolescents who have expressed a vocational commitment. It was felt that the data supported Erikson's formulations concerning the period of adolescence to the extent that a positive and predictive relationship was found between level of occupational commitment and ego identity achievement, and between the level of occupation commitment and self-concept.

It was felt that ego identity was not significantly related to intelligence or achievement. It was further concluded that ego identity, self-concept, and self-acceptance are related measures dealing with level of maturity and ego integration in adolescence.



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