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Self-perceptions of career transitions: Self-reports of emotional states over time and the perceived value of outplacement in assisting adjustment

Menon, Prakash (2000) Self-perceptions of career transitions: Self-reports of emotional states over time and the perceived value of outplacement in assisting adjustment. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Three types of career transition, employment change, retrenchment and retirement and the perceived value of outplacement services, were investigated via surveys completed by 119 subjects who had experienced these respective events in the last eighteen months. A survey questionnaire and psychological test battery comprising the State-trait Anxiety Inventory (form - Y), Beck Depression Inventory (II) and Coopersmith Self-esteem Inventory, were used to gather data for this study. The results obtained were varied and emphasised the complex nature of this research topic.

The results generally suggested that in all three types of career transition. (job change, retrenchment and retirement), time mediated reported levels of anxiety, depression and self-esteem in that it played a role in normalising psychological states.

The effects of time were also evident in the tendency for subjects further from the transition event to report having been prepared for it as opposed to subjects who more recently experienced career transition who tended to report having been unprepared. This trend was observed across all three transition types and a significant difference was found between the post-event mean time elapsed of prepared and unprepared retired subjects.

It was found that financial security mediated reported levels of anxiety, depression and self-esteem in all three subject-groups. Although there was little correlation between financial security and scores on depression and self-esteem for retired subjects, the similar trends across all three subject-groups suggest an actual generalisable effect across the three types of career transition.

Financial security was not found to correspond with subjects’ voluntary or involuntary decision to change or leave employment, nor did the presence or absence of severance pay make a significant difference in financial security. No significant difference in the perceived fairness of the job separation process was found between retrenched subjects who had been provided with prior notice and retrenched subjects who had not been given prior notice.

There was no significant difference in the psychological well-being of retrenched subjects who were subsequently re-employed and retrenched subjects who remained unemployed. However, unemployed retired subjects reported significantly lower depression scores than re-employed retirees.

For both retrenched and retired subjects, there were inconsistent findings in the test battery scores of subjects who attended outplacement services and subjects who had not attended outplacement services. For retrenched subjects who had attended outplacement, no difference was found between the test battery scores of re-employed and subjects who remained unemployed. For retired subjects who attended outplacement, subjects who remained unemployed reported significantly lower depression scores than subjects who returned to employment.

The results obtained for comparative test battery scores for retrenched and retired subjects across outplacement options attended are varied. Subjects appeared to select outplacement options which facilitated financial security, income options and re-employment prospects. In spite of the finding that some options were strongly related to greater psychological well-being than others, the results pertaining to the subjects’ choices and self-reports on anxiety, depression and self-esteem were varied and require careful further investigation.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Murdoch Affiliation: Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Bennett, Robert
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50456
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