Exploring exploration : career identity development and temperment /
Career identity exploration is a central component of the lives of undergraduate university students. Although students are encouraged to explore, it is unclear whether different methods of exploration are better suited for certain individuals. In the present study, quantitative data were collected to examine the relationship between shyness and various methods of exploration. Two hundred fifty-seven university undergraduate students (29 male), ranging in age from 17-25 years completed a 60-minute self-report questionnaire. Shyness, identity, identity distress, subjective dimensions of exploration (satisfaction with exploration, reasons for not exploring, helpfulness of exploration methods), foci of exploration (non-social, social, self, and environmental), approaches to exploration (breadth, depth), and moderating variables (social support, sociability) were measured. Shyness was positively correlated with moratorium (high exploration, low commitment) and uncorrelated with the other identity statuses. Shyness was also positively correlated with identity distress, and a predicted interaction between shyness and identity diffusion predicting career identity distress was supported. Shyness was negatively correlated with satisfaction with amount of exploration engaged in to-date. In addition, shyness was correlated with the likelihood of selecting too stressful and too anxiety provoking as reasons for engaging in less exploration than one would like. Expected relationships between shyness and beliefs about, and engagement in, various methods of exploration were largely non-significant. Exceptions to this were the negative correlations between shyness and engagement in social exploration, and beliefs about the helpfulness of social self-exploration, both of which were significant at a trend level. A predicted interaction between shyness and social support predicting total social exploration was supported, showing that high social support buffers the negative relationship between shyness and exploration; such a moderating relationship did not exist, however, between sociability, shyness and social exploration. Results suggest that although shy university students are engaged in career exploration, they are experiencing feelings of distress and dissatisfaction with their career identity exploration and development. Thus, to help shy students become successfiil in their exploration, it is important for counsellors, family members, and peers to be aware of the feelings the individuals are experiencing and help them reduce the anxiety and stress associated with the exploration process. One promising method, supported by the results in this study, is by encouraging shy individuals to explore with social support.