The Level Of Moral Consciousness And The Personal Professional Perspective Of Adolescents

Abstract

The task of professional self-determination is a central one in adolescence. Russian adolescents’ current social situation involves several risks capable of impacting the content of the professional self-determination process as its specifics tend to be determined by students’ poor orientation in the opportunities of the working world, their unwillingness to build up a temporal perspective of their professional future and their focus on the material component when choosing a career. Widely varying social and moral norms of modern society also have an effect on teenagers’ perception of possible careers. The aim of our study was to study adolescents’ moral attitudes towards solving problems of their professional self-determination by analyzing their personal professional perspectives. The major part of our study involved 144 teenagers aged 15-17, 48% boys and 52% girls. The following three methods were used: N.S. Pryazhnikova’s method of determining the personal professional prospective (modified by O.A. Karabanova, V.S. Vologzhanina), D. Marcia's method of identity status determination (modified by O.A. Karabanova, V.R. Orestova) and, finally, S.V. Molchanov’s method for determining the development of moral judgments “Justice-Caring”. The results confirmed a hypothesis about uneven formation of personal professional perspective components in older adolescence. We identified three groups of adolescents with different levels of personal professional perspective formation. The level of personal professional perspective formation is related to that of identity development in the career field. A correlation was found to exist between the level of personal professional perspective formation and the nature of moral reasoning in adolescence.

Keywords: Professional self-determinationidentity statuspersonal professional perspectiveadolescence

Introduction

The process of professional self-determination is a major developmental challenge in older adolescence (Ginzburg, 1988). The modern social situation of adolescent development is characterized by highly variable potential individual development trajectories in the future career field. At the same time, it is necessary to note a high degree of uncertainty in the country’s socio-economic future and the existing problems in predicting a mid-term demand for this or that job on the market. The above features define the specifics of the professional self-determination process in older adolescence in Russia today (Pryazhnikov & Rumyantseva, 2013). The diversity of the social world is also reflected in the variety of moral and social norms of interaction existing in the adolescent environment that may influence the process of professional self-determination and potentially influence of identity development (Erikson, 1968; Molchanov, 2016). Professional activity is implemented in a specific moral and value context, which finds its reflection in career choice, vocational training and professional activity, on the one hand, and the means of career growth and development, on the other (Pryazhnikov, 2008).

Problem Statement

The process of professional self-determination leads to development of professional identity, determined by the breadth and depth of research by the opportunities of the possibilities of professional choice, as well as the decision regarding their professional future. The substantive-procedural model of the process of professional self-determination was developed in the works of Klimov (2004) and Pryazhnikov (2013) and represented by the construct "personal professional perspective/personal professional plan". There are eight factors that adolescents need to take into account when choosing a profession: inclinations as stable interests; internal and external abilities of the person; prestige of the chosen profession; the degree of awareness of the content of the chosen profession; position of parents regarding the choice of profession as a teenager, the position of classmates, friends and peers; market needs for specialists in this profession; availability of an action program for the selection and achievement of professional goals (personal professional perspective). The active estimation of all factors helps to make adequate and autonomy professional choice for future.

The types of formation of personal professional perspective are distinguished according to two criteria - consideration of the main factors of choice and the degree of their generalization with respect to a specific choice. Pryazhnikov (2016) identifies four types of personal professional perspective development: the absence of a deliberately planned choice when the choice is made by the social environment of the adolescent (parents, teachers, psychologists, friends, etc.); the choice of a particular profession, taking into account only part of the factors of professional choice; the choice of a particular profession, taking into account the whole system of factors of professional choice in the existing socio-economic situation; mastering the method of professional choice as the ability to exercise and transform the choice in the changed, complicated conditions, for example, in conditions of moving or illness of someone from relatives. There is the flexibility of making choices in view of changing external and internal conditions. The model of identity statuses also focuses on depth and content of professional choices as the part of structural identity. The problem of active autonomy search for own decision in professional future becomes as important task for adolescents that can lead to moratorium and achieved identity statuses (Marcia, 1966).

The study of modern Russian adolescents’ expectations about their professional future shows that teens’ focus on moral and ethical values of professional activity tends to be superseded by that on job-related material benefits (Pryazhnikov, Molchanov, & Kirsanov, 2018). This leads to a narrower orientation in the career space with a focus on the types of work that offer obvious pecuniary advantages (Molchanov & Kirsanov, 2018). As a result, no medium- and long-term professional future perspective is not built in time; there is declining importance of education, particularly, higher education as a necessary stage of training for successful professional self-realization. More and more often adolescents tend to take a moratorium in the field of professional self-determination due to challenges they face in the process of choosing a future career. These risks of professional self-determination may have a negative developmental impact on a subject of professional activity. That is why the study of the moral and value foundations of the professional self-determination process becomes an important task both for research purposes and for building practical programs for career guidance of adolescents in the working world.

Research Questions

3.1 To identify features of personal professional perspective construction in conjunction with identity formation for career options.

3.2. To explore specific features of the moral attitudes of adolescents with different levels of the personal professional perspective.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify adolescents’ moral attitudes towards solving problems of professional self-determination at different levels of personal professional perspective formation.

Research Methods

The following methods were used:

1. Pryazhnikov’s (2016) method for determining a personal and professional perspective. Analysis of the personal professional perspective includes the following components: the value and meaning of an occupation, the level of job awareness, action plan implementation, assessment of obstacles and ways to overcome them, availability of backup options and awareness of the country’s financial and economic situation.

2. The method of identity status determination in the field of professional self-determination in accordance with the identity status model developed by Erickson and operationalized by Marcia (1966) in the modification by Orestova and Karabanova (2005).

3. Molchanov’s (2011) method “Justice-Caring”, aimed at identifying moral developmental features within the framework of orientation to the justice principle and the caring principle.

The main part of our study involved 144 people aged 15-17 years. Gender wise, boys represented 48% and girls 52% of the sample. In terms of family composition, 73% of the respondents came from complete families and 27% from single-parent families. The study was conducted in group form, the adolescents being asked to fill out method-related questionnaires during school lessons.

Findings

Analysis of the specifics in the formation of personal professional perspective components in older adolescence demonstrates its uneven development. A significant number of the respondents surveyed displayed a rather high level of adequate expectations about the value of work and the meaning of a job, on the one hand, and, on the hand, they showed a lack of orientation in an occupation, uncertainty of the action plan, poorly defined awareness of potential obstacles to their goal, lack of backup options for implementing their professional plans and a poor grasp of the country’s overall financial and economic situation.

We carried out a cluster analysis to identify groups of teens with different levels of personal professional perspective formation, which made it possible to single out 3 groups. The results of cluster analysis are presented in Table 1 .

Table 1 -
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The clusters differ in the level of their personal professional perspective formation. Cluster 1 is characterized by a higher level of personal professional perspective formation in all its components compared to Cluster 3 (U criterion, p <0.001) and it performed better against Cluster 2 in all the components except “Availability of backup options” (U criterion, p = 0.245) and “Expectations about the country’s financial and economic situation" (criterion U, p = 0.154). Thus, it can be argued that the first group of respondents is characterized by the highest level of personal professional perspective development.

The lowest level of personal professional perspective formation is observed among respondents from the third group. The differences between Clusters 3 and 2 are significant in every parameter, except for the component “Value and Meaning of an occupation” (criterion U, p = 0.084).

Thus, we found the teen respondents to be distributed into three groups according to the level of personal professional perspective formation: a group with a high level of personal professional perspective formation (Cluster 1), a group with an average level of personal professional perspective formation (Cluster 2), and a group with a low level of personal professional perspective formation (Cluster 3).

We compared their identity status with the indicators of the formation of personal professional perspective components. Analyzing the features of the personal professional perspective components for groups of respondents with a high and low professional identity status, we received confirmation that a group with a high identity status is characterized by a greater maturity of all the personal professional perspective components. It was found out that high statuses (moratorium, identity achievement) tend to correspond to professional plans that are more elaborated, concrete, realistic and self-aware and more focused on a career choice compared to identity diffusion.

A comparative analysis was conducted to identify significant differences in the level of moral judgment development in the participating adolescents with different levels of personal professional perspectives. The level of moral consciousness development was assessed according to the results obtained through the “Justice - Caring” method. The results of comparing adolescents from different clusters, which have statistically significant differences, are presented in Table 2 .

Table 2 -
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Adolescents with an average level of PPP formation are characterized by the highest scores on the scales “Power of Authorities, Fear of punishment” and “Orientation to the opinion of others, the desire to “be good” on the scales of preconventional and conventional levels of moral consciousness development. The lowest scores on these scales are observed in adolescents with a low level of PPP formation.

Regarding moral judgments on the principle of justice and caring, adolescents with a low level of PPP formation showed the lowest scores on the scales of “Reflexive empathic orientation” and “Conscious consideration of internalized values” and revealed no concern for the care principle in moral situations. The results of the adolescents with high and medium PPP formation are similar and demonstrate a high level of moral consciousness development.

Conclusion

The study identified uneven formation of personal professional perspective components in older adolescence and singled out three groups of adolescents with different levels of PPP formation. The PPP development level agrees well with that of professional identity development: high statuses (moratorium, identity achievement) correspond to more elaborate, concrete, realistic and definite career plans and to a higher level of career choice focus compared to identity diffusion.

The study revealed an interrelation between the level of moral judgments and personal professional perspective formation: a fully formed personal professional perspective puts a greater emphasis on the ideas of caring.

Acknowledgments

The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research under the project 18-013- 01067 А.

References

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2019.07.56

Online ISSN

2357-1330