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Personality and ability to relate affect career choices, says visiting Professor Shmuel Shulman

Personality and ability to relate affect career choices, says visiting Professor Shmuel Shulman

Some theories point to delayed commitments and the instabilities inherent in today's youth as the prime determinant of their careers, but psychology Professor Shmuel Shulman of Bar-Ilan University in Israel says their vast array of experiences, their individual personalities and their ability to relate to others may also play a role.

Shulman, a visiting scholar at the LaMarsh Centre for Child & Youth Research, will deliver a LaMarsh talk Wednesday, June 15, from 1 to 2pm, in 163 Behavioural Science Building, Keele campus. His talk, “The Role and Meaning of Work in Individual Lives During Emerging Adulthood: Trajectories and Adaptation” will be based on data collected in a four-wave longitudinal design in which 175 Israeli emerging adults with the mean age of 22 years were followed over a period of seven years. The focus of the study was on the occupation and relationship decision-making process.

Right: Shmuel Shulman

“Taking a biographical approach, we focus on the processes of occupation and relationship decision-making among young people rather than on concrete outcomes,” says Shulman, whose research covers developmental processes and psychopathology during adolescence and young adulthood. “That is the subjective meaning that certain options and outcomes have for the young person and on his or her subsequent adaptation.”

In addition to the four assessments, at the fourth wave the participants were given an in-depth interview covering work and love domains. As part of a broader interview, young people were asked to talk about their work experiences, feelings and expectations about work and its meaning. They were also asked to reflect on changes and turning points in their work and career histories.

Qualitative analysis of the interviews yielded four main constructs of personal inner work meanings and their evolvement over time, reflecting adaptive and maladaptive trajectories. “Our findings show that the multiplicity of experiences can be traced to individual personality and relational attributes,” says Shulman. “For example, self-efficacy, self-criticism, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation explain the different trajectories that young people embark on.”

He will discuss the importance of examining subjective meanings in developmental processes as well as the role of personality constructs in coping with developmental tasks during emerging adulthood.

Shulman has more than 100 publications, including books and papers. His work has focused mainly on understanding the development and processes in adolescent romantic relationships. Recent research on young adults, however, has also examined the process associated with consolidation of occupational identity and its interplay with commitment in relationships.

For more information or to RSVP, e-mail

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.