Secure Attachment and Career Indecision: The Mediating Role of Emotional Intelligence



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Background: Many college students struggle with career indecision and its problematic outcomes. Thus, it is important to gain a better understanding of the antecedents of career indecision to facilitate career development in this population. Over the past few decades, researchers have been trying to understand the career decision-making process from interpersonal and affective perspectives. Previous findings suggest that the negative relation of secure attachment to career indecision may be mediated by emotional intelligence. Purpose: The primary goal of the present study was to examine a model which links secure attachment with career indecision through the mediating role of emotional intelligence. It was hypothesized that secure attachment will be positively associated to emotional intelligence, and, in turn, higher levels of emotional intelligence will be negatively related to career indecision. In short, the indirect negative relation of attachment security to career indecision through emotional intelligence will be statistically significant. Methods: Participants included 419 male and female undergraduate students from a large southern university. The following measures were used to assess the constructs of interest: The Inventory of Parent Attachment, The Career Decision-Making Difficulties Questionnaire, and The Assessing Emotions Scale. To examine the proposed mediational model, bootstrapped bias-corrected 95% confidence intervals of the indirect effect were calculated with the PROCESS macro in SPSS (Hayes, 2013). Results: The indirect effect of emotional intelligence on the relation between secure attachment and career indecision was statistically significant. Conclusions: Results suggest that the ability to manage emotions is one of the pathways that explain the association of secure attachment to lower levels of career indecision. The link among these constructs offer suggestions for novel intervention ideas for career counseling with college students.



Attachment, Emotional intelligence, Career indecision, College students