The relationship of work to establishing and clarifying purpose in a sample of college students
This study ascertained the extent to which a sample of college students were employed while matriculating, determined the relatedness of their work to their academic major/career goal, and correlated both (the extent and relatedness of work) to the developmental task of establishing and clarifying purpose. Two hypotheses postulated that there would be a significant relationship found between (a) extent of work and student purposiveness, and (b) relatedness of work to student major/career goal and purposiveness in subjects. During the fall of 1989, three study instruments were administered to 470 seniors from three postsecondary institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region. Subjects completed the Personal Data Sheet, the College Major/Student Employment Relatedness Inventory, and the Establishing and Clarifying Purpose Scale of the Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Inventory. ANOVA procedure was used to test both hypotheses and to test for interaction effects. Significant relationships were found between extent of work and student purposiveness, and between relatedness of work to student academic major/career goal and purposiveness. A significant interaction effect was found to exist between the two independent variables. Post hoc analyses showed significant interaction effects between relatedness of work and age, and between relatedness of work and college major. The findings led the writer to conclude that (a) work is becoming an increasingly prominent force in the lives of contemporary college students, (b) working while matriculating positively affects the development of purpose in college students, and (c) working in jobs related to one's major/career goal aids students in the development of purpose. The implication is that college faculty and administrators need to acknowledge the importance of work to students, and to offer instruction, programs, and services designed with working students in mind.