14 SES 07 B, Aspirations, Careers and Parent-School relationshisp
High school stage is a critical period of active career exploring (Super, 1980; Super et al., 1996). Successful career development in high school stage has a positive effect on personal and social adjustment both concurrently and in post-high school years (Stringer et al., 2012; Jepsen & Dickson, 2003). Since career development level at high school stage impacts students’ adjustment till adulthood, many researchers have paid attention to high school students’ career development and their influencing factors.
The ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006) and empirical studies highlight that family (Sang & Yi, 2010; Guan et al., 2015) and school (Perry et al., 2010; Garcia et al., 2015) are among the most important environments influencing students’ career development. However, little is known about how the mesosystem of “family-school partnership” related to students’ career development.
Parent-teacher partnership is the core component in family-school partnership proved by several previous studies (Seginer, 2006; Lasater, 2016), which includes both parent-teacher contact frequency and parent-teacher relationship quality (Serpell & Mashburn, 2012; Deng et al., 2017). Although both parent-teacher contact and parent-teacher relationship were positively related to students’ development, almost all the studies (Serpell & Mashburn, 2012; Deng et al., 2017) claimed parent-teacher relationship as more predictive than parent-teacher contact. In the specific area of career development, only one study (Deng et al., 2017) examined the predicting effects of parent-teacher relationship quality on high school students’ career development.
From an ecological perspective, proximal processes refer to particular forms of interaction between organism and environment and distal contexts influence individuals’ development through proximal processes (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006). Parent-teacher relationship, as a remote environmental factor, may affect adolescents’ career development through proximal factors including parent-child interaction and/or teacher-student interaction, and proves the mediating effects of parental warmth (Wang, Hill, & Hofkens, 2014) and teacher-student relationship (Deng et al., 2017). However, few studies explored the comparative or combined effects of parental autonomy support and teachers’ autonomy support.
Autonomy support means that parents and teachers respond to adolescents’ need of autonomy, such as acknowledging their perspectives, encouraging their free choices and so on (Joussemet et al., 2008). The self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) and empirical researches (Gagné, 2003; Inguglia et al., 2015) suggested that autonomy can help adolescents develop positive self-identity to complete transition from child to adult.
In terms of promoting adolescents’ career development, some researches (Lekes et al., 2010; Tang et al., 2013) suggested that parental/teachers’ autonomy support positively predicated adolescents’ career development. Nevertheless, almost none research has examined the association between parent-teacher relationship and parental/teachers’ autonomy support. Based on the ecological systems theory and previous research by Deng et al. (2017) and Wang et al. (2014), we propose that parent-teacher relationship would positively relate to parental/teachers’ autonomy support, and parental/ teachers’ autonomy support would mediate the association between parent-teacher relationship and students’ career development.
Given that teachers’ autonomy support was more predicative than parental autonomy support in relation to high school students’ career development (Tang et al., 2014), it is hypothesized that the mediating effect of teachers’ autonomy support would be larger than that of parental autonomy support.
Taken together, this study aims to examine: (1) the association between parent-teacher relationship and students’ career development; (2) the mediating roles of parental/teachers’ autonomy support in the association between parent-teacher relationship and students’ career development; (3) the comparative mediating effects of teachers’ autonomy support versus parental autonomy support.
This study was supported by the Key Research Institute of Education Science Planning of Beijing(CAEA180) and the Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (16JJD880009). Participants in the current study were 1,565 high school students in Grade one from Beijing, China. Students completed the questionnaires in the class of mental health education. The duration of test was about 25 minutes. All participants were voluntary, and responses were anonymous. 7.2% Invalid questionnaires were excluded, including uncompleted (over 30%), not seriously answered (i.e., selected all 5s on a scale). The remaining valid participates were 1452 students. High school students completed the following measures: (1)Parent-teacher relationship. This study revised the scale of Parent-Teacher Relationship developed by Vickers et al. (1995) and Dawson et al. (2016) from teacher-report version to student-report version. Students responded to the items on a four-point scale form 1= almost never to 4 = almost always. Higher scores indicate better parent-teacher relationship quality by students perceiving. The revised scale includes ten items for the joining dimension (internal consistency α= 0.76) and five items for the communication dimension (α= 0.76). Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to verify the construct validity. Adequate model fit indices verified a good two-factor structure of the Parent-Teacher Relationship Scale among Chinese students from the present sample: χ2(89) =406.337, P<0.001, CFI=0.923, GFI=0.962, NFI=0.904, IFI=0.923, TLI=0.909, RMSEA=0.047. (2)Parental autonomy support was assessed using the 12-item Parental Autonomy Support Scale (Tang et al., 2013; Wang, Pomerantz, & Chen, 2007). Students rated the items on a five-point scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. Higher scores indicate higher levels of perceived parental autonomy support. Internal consistency was 0.89. (3)Teachers’ autonomy support was assessed using the 14-item Teachers’ Autonomy Support Scale (Liu, 2010; Williams & Deci, 1996). Students rated the items on a five-point scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. Higher scores indicate higher levels of perceived teachers’ autonomy support. Internal consistency was 0.94. (4)Career development was assessed using the 24-item High School Students’ Career Development (Deng et al., 2017; Hu et al., 2015). Students rated on a scale from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strong agree. Higher scores indicate higher level of career development. Internal consistency for scale in total and sub-dimensions were 0.93, 0.66, 0.65, 0.65, 0.78, 0.65, and 0.73, respectively.
Correlation analysis showed that parent-teacher relationship, parental autonomy support, teachers’ autonomy support and students’ career development were positively related to each other. Based on the positive correlation among all variables, this study adopted Bootstrap=1000 approach to conduct structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis. Results showed that parent-teacher relationship improve students’ career development through the total intermediary role of parental autonomy support and teachers’ autonomy support. The mediated path model also demonstrated good fit to the data: χ2(32) =235.519, RMSEA=0.066[0.058, 0.074], CFI=0.973, TLI=0.963. In addition, although mediating effect of teachers’ autonomy support(0.296[0.006,0.588]) was higher than that of parental autonomy support (0.098[0.070, 0.138]), mediating effect difference test showed that there is no significant difference between the mediating effect of parental autonomy and that of teachers’ autonomy support(95% C.I. [-1.137, 0.144]). This study is an emerging study to examine the influencing mechanism of high school students’ career development from angle of parent-teacher relationship. Parent-teacher relationship indirectly influence students’ career development entirely through autonomy support from parents and teachers. In terms of this result, we can acquire some inspirations: on the one hand, parent-teacher interaction and collaboration could promote educational efficacy for each other, including consciously and appropriately providing students with autonomy support; on the other hand, autonomy support from parents and teachers are not only corresponded to individual psychological characteristics in high school stage but also equally important for students’ career development. However, this study is not without limitation. The present study only collected data from students. Future researches should employ muti-informants from parents, teachers, and students. Methods of interviews and tracking can be utilized in the future to explore long-term influencing mechanism of parent-teacher relationship effect on high students’ career development.
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