The Theological Exploration of Vocation among Students PTEV Final Conference Lilly Endowment February 9, 2007 Cindy Miller-Perrin Don Thompson Pepperdine.
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The Theological Exploration of Vocation among Students PTEV Final Conference Lilly Endowment February 9, 2007 Cindy Miller-Perrin Don Thompson Pepperdine University
Research Hypothesis Vocational Development is the intersection of Faith Development and Identity Development. –Vocational Development is significantly correlated with both Faith and Identity scores over time.
Research Methods 2002-2006 Student Development –Faith, Vocation, Identity Surveys (N=300; Response Rate=64%- 83%) Interviews (N=150; Response Rate=70%- 81%) –Autobiographical Writings –Vocation Discussion Groups
Results Identity Development Faith Development Vocational Development Significant Predictors
Ego-Identity Status Groups –Achievement: exploration and commitment “It took me a while to figure it out, but now I really know what I want for a career.” –Moratorium: exploration without commitment “Religion is confusing to me right now. I keep changing my views on what is right and wrong for me.” –Foreclosure: no exploration, but commitment “My parents decided a long time ago what I should go into for employment and I’m following through with their plans.” –Diffusion: no exploration or commitment “I haven’t really considered politics. It just doesn’t excite me much.”
Faith Development Measures SubscalesSample Items Strength of Belief (alpha =.81) I view myself as a religious person. I have doubts about whether my religious beliefs are true. Faith Behaviors (alpha =.88) How often do you attend religious services? How often have you read a devotional, religious, or spiritual book in the last year? Application of Faith (alpha =.90) I depend on my faith in God for decision- making and direction. I try hard to carry my religious beliefs into all other dealings in my life.
Vocational Discernment and Action SubscalesSample Items Discernment and Purpose (alpha =.76) I have a good sense for my life purpose. I know of the many ways that I can use my gifts and talents within the context of my professional career. I am unsure about what God is specifically calling me to do. Service to Others (alpha =.68) I am motivated to choose a career that will enable me to provide some type of service to others. I feel a deep sense of responsibility for reducing pain and suffering in the world.
Vocational Barriers Subscales Barriers to life purpose fulfillment Personal Barriers (alpha =.84) Fear Emotional Problems Self-doubt Lack of motivation Interpersonal Barriers (alpha =.86) A parent A friend A boy/girl friend A teacher or professor Social and Cultural Barriers (alpha =.90) Lack of financial resources Feeling pressure or a desire to get married Feeling that my opportunities are limited by the gender stereotypes of society
Best Predictors of Vocational Maturity Faith Maturity Diffusion & Moratorium Ego-Identity Scores Personal Barriers Vocational Maturity
Conclusions Students experience significant developmental variation over time –Strength of faith belief –Faith behavior –Identity development –The sophomore year is a particularly critical milestone Strong Relationship Between Vocation and Faith Strong Relationship Between Vocation and Moratorium & Diffusion Identities Students Perceive Particular Barriers to Vocational Development –Emotional problems –Selfishness –Need for personal control Importance of Examining Gender Differences in terms of Faith Development and Vocational Barriers
Programmatic Predictors of Vocational Development Mentoring Selected Readings Autobiographical Reflection International Program Experience Barriers
Lessons & Opportunities for Nurturing Student Development at Christian Universities Engender faith growth – mentoring, spiritual nourishment, challenges Promote self-discovery – leading to achieved identity – reflective experiences – summation as well as formation Respect the barriers Understand dynamics of gender Capitalize on opportunities for impact in the sophomore year – especially International Experiences
Final Details We found gender differences with regard to faith, barriers, and service, but not discernment. All three subscales of faith (strength of belief, faith application, and faith behavior) are related to both vocational discernment and vocation as service (with just a few exceptions) for each of the assessment time periods (baseline, first-year, sophomore, junior, senior). Identity is also related, pretty strongly, but slightly less consistently across assessment time periods and only with vocational discernment, not vocation as service. The significant relationships seem to be between moratorium scores and diffusion scores and the relationship is negative (higher moratorium and higher diffusion scores are related to lower vocational discernment). Barriers (personal in particular) are also fairly consistently negatively related to vocational discernment (but not vocation as service) for most assessment time periods.