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An Empirical Typology of Career Thoughts of Individuals with disabilities.

Article Summary
Lustig & Strauser (2003)

Investigated the dysfunctional career thoughts of 132 persons with disabilities receiving job placement services from a community based job program with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV edition (DSM-IV) diagnosis. The DSM-IV diagnoses included Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar Disorder. There were two other samples used for comparison purposes. Lustig & Strauser report, "the comparison groups provided a frame of reference for understanding the significance of the measured level of dysfunctional career thoughts of the DSM-IV diagnoses group."

The participants completed a Career Thoughts Inventory designed to measure dysfunctional career thoughts. Participants were then classified into three groups, which were Dysfunctional Thoughts, External Conflict, and Productive Thoughts. Individuals classified as having Dysfunctional Thoughts exhibit a high level of dysfunctional thinking in areas of decision-making, commitment anxiety, and external conflict. These individuals may have "great difficulty understanding how to make a career decision and at times may be incapable of coming to a decision related to career matters." The second group was external conflict and individuals that fell into this group exhibit moderately dysfunctional thinking in their ability to understand how to make a career decision as well as the ability to commit to a specific career decision. These individuals also have a difficult time distinguishing between meaningful information when making career decisions. The Productive Thoughts group "appear to understand how to make a career decision and typically find the process of making a career decision manageable." A key characteristic of this group is their unique ability to be flexible when needed. They are also able to stick with a decision once they it has been made, but they can also modify their choices when needed. Lustig & Strauser conclude, "The results of this study also provide the basis for future research regarding career thoughts of individuals with disabilities." In addition, "more research is needed to examine whether the instruments produces reliable and valid data on career thoughts for individuals with these conditions."

Reference Lustig, D.C., & Strauser, D.R. (2003). An empirical typology of career thoughts of individuals with disabilities. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 46(2), 99-110.