What is it about?

This study analyzed the mediating effect of well-being between generalized self-efficacy and vocational identity development in a sample of 724 final year bachelor’s students studying in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Results from a parallel mediation analysis indicated that generalized self-efficacy was indirectly related to vocational identity development through its relationship with four of the six components of psychological well-being (autonomy, positive relations with others, purpose in life and self-acceptance) as well as the cognitive (life satisfaction) and affective (positive affect and absence of negative affect) components of subjective well-being.

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Why is it important?

In the present study, results revealed that generalized self-efficacy indirectly influenced vocational identity development through seven out of the nine components of well-being as identified above. The results are valuable, as the indirect effect of generalized self-efficacy on vocational identity development has not been determined yet and therefore it provides a new perspective to the career development theories. This causality offers valuable insights into how generalized self-efficacy may take its indirect effect. The nine mediators provide an all-encompassing view of well-being. This ties in with the recommendation of Huppert and So (2013) and Seligman (2011) that well-being must be studied based on subjective well-being and psychological well-being. The study as such lays a foundation for empirically integrating the holistic perspective of well-being into the vocational identity development process. The present study also integrates the application of Marcia’s (1980) model for strengthening vocational identity in university students. Lastly, the study explicates the role of generalized self-efficacy as a positive resistance resource factor in contributing towards students’ overall well-being and vocational identity development. As such, it advances career development theory, research, and practice.


Career development literature to date focuses on career-specific self-efficacy and its influence on vocational identity. In effect, it dismisses the essential role of generalized self-efficacy in the career development process (Song and Chon 2012). It should be noted that most university students may have not yet developed career-specific self-efficacy to aptly manage a wide range of difficult and/or novel situations pertinent for nurturing their vocational identity; for instance, demonstrating career readiness, formulating clear vocational goals, engaging in career exploration, and developing essential employability skills. In this context, generalized self-efficacy, which is “individuals’ perception of their ability to perform across a variety of situations” (Judge et al. 1998 p. 170), may be more relevant than domain-specific self-efficacy. In effect, as students gain experience or competency in managing a particular situation or task, their general sense of perceived self-efficacy may coalesce to serve as a foundation for bolstering or awakening their self-efficacy in that specific area or situation. Feelings of adequacy brought about by a general sense of perceived self-efficacy (i.e., “Thanks to my resourcefulness, I know how to handle unforeseen situations” and “When I am confronted with a problem, I can usually find several solutions”; Schwarzer and Jerusalem 1995) may therefore be critical in promoting a sense of proficiency in various domains over time.

Zane Asher Green
Preston University Pakistan

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The mediating effect of well-being between generalized self-efficacy and vocational identity development, International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, June 2019, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1007/s10775-019-09401-7.
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