Investigating Psycho-Sociological Factors In Predicting Career Decision Among Some Selected Secondary Schools

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Investigating Psycho-Sociological Factors In Predicting Career Decision Among Some Selected Secondary Schools


This research is on Investigating Psycho-Sociological Factors In Predicting Career Decision Among Some Selected Secondary Schools. This study was on some selected secondary schools in Afijio Local Government Area. The study is descriptive in nature and uses Child’s Vocational Awareness Questionnaire (CVAQ) on students for career aspiration findings. A total number of one hundred (100) students responded to the instrument. Contrary to the research, it was revealed that the development in the educational achievement of the students with a better possibility for better career choice is high and the level of education of the parent could be in form of motivation for child to aspire for better jobs in future. And that majority of the students now -a-days decide on their own career choices.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

In the downtrend of the socio-economic status of a nation, a situation where the economic stability of a nation shakes, the need for an individual to choose rightful paths that will lead to uninterrupted and life-changing career is highly required. In essence, in any economic crisis nation like Nigeria, the chances of economic survival of individuals depend solemnly on the right ability to choose a course that can maximize the economic sustainability of such an individual. Hence, career making is absolutely essential.

Decision making is the process of identifying and selecting alternatives based on unique preferences. Therefore, successful career planning requires many decisions, an ability to set goals and the ability to reach the set goals in a proper time. Nevertheless, it should be noted that career decisions are among the most challenging things one could ever make in life. This is so, when a wrong decision is made, the outcome is always obvious in the way, manner, and attitude of such an individual throughout his or her life. It is equally glaring that decisions involved uncertainty, which makes many people uncomfortable. Nonetheless, planning can reduce the degree of uncertainty and increase chances of achieving the desired goals.

Career decision can be dangerous when individuals have no knowledge about its implications. Nevertheless, Sharf (2002) opines that career decision making helps to identify factors involved in a person’s career decision and provides an understanding of the way these factors have an impact on their career decision and choice. Based on the opinion of Sharf, it is obvious that career decision is an important aspect of every human to successful career, especially in an economic crisis nation like Nigeria.

Examining the core concept of career decision, Patteon and McMalion (1999) in Siriwan (2011) identify three broad factors that predetermine the outcome of choosing a career. These factors are; a clear understanding of oneself, which includes the abilities of every individuals, aptitudes, interest, ambition, resources, limitations and knowledge of their causes; the second factor is the knowledge of the requirement which preclude, condition of success, advantages and disadvantages, compensation, opportunities and prospects in different lines of works. The third factor that is identified by Patton and McMalion (1999) in Siriwan (2011) is true reasoning on the relations of the two groups above. It can be deduced therefore that numerous variables are responsible for the failure and success of career decision among individuals especially students in the secondary schools.

Attitude is considered psychological factor that affects the way and manner at which an individual perceived a job opportunity and career decision notwithstanding (Pitts, 2007). Expatiating on the concept of attitude towards the rightful decision making, Okonkwo (2010) obliges that that negative attitudes of parents, relatives and teachers of students presupposely affect the attitudes of students against choosing career in life. Attitude according to Della (2003), is a way one behave towards someone or something, especially when showing how one feels. In essence, attitude is an imbued trait that is only perceived when put on display. Hence, the level of attitude of an individual tactically predicts the outcome of the perceived views or perception of students towards a particular career.

Emphasizing the issue of interest, the home plays a significant role in this regard as many parents may discourage or encourage their wards on a particular career. Hence, the interest of students can be felt based on the attitude of parents towards chosen career. Chukwu (2002) states that the interest has been viewed as emotionally oriented behavioral trait which determines a student’s whim and rigour in tackling educational programmes or other activities. Therefore, attitude is an affective behavior that can be aroused and sustained through the families, parents and or teachers of students in career decision making.

Another variable of interest in this study is personality. Personality is seen as someone’s character, especially the way one behaves towards other people. According to Della (2003) personality is the quality that makes someone interesting, friendly and enjoyable to be with. In career decision therefore, personality is an aspect that determines chosen career of any students. Holland (1959) in Siriwan (2011) personality types and work environment highlight the characteristics of job relation to individuals’ personalities and interests. Personality therefore is believed to occupy noticeable space in the career decision and its outcome in students. Deliberating on the issue of personality, Brown (2002) believes that in choosing career, students’ personality predetermined what the decision will fulfill, hence, it is a considerable fact that personality of individual results in choosing careers.

Self-efficacy is another variable of interest in the study. It can be seen as a self-evaluation of one’s competence in successful execution of a course of action necessary to reach desired outcomes. Eimmerman (2000) sees self-efficacy as a multidimensional construct that varies according to the domain of demands and therefore, it must be evaluated at a level that is specific to the outcome domain. The concept of self-efficacy was introduced by Albert Bandura in 1977 when he uses social learning theory to investigate personality development. Bandura (1977) in Siriwan (2011) posits that personality develops through learning experiences and human cognitive process. These factors include individual factors which refer to behavior; environmental factors which refers to the external aspect associated with an individual’s learning; and psychological factors which refers to cognitive process associated with how individual learn from the consequences of the interaction between individual and environmental factors, such as their perception of learning experiences and their approach to problem solving. Hence, the concept of self-efficacy is been regarded as a key personality factors influencing career decision. Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, and Pastorelli, (2001) found that children tended to base their career choices on their perceived occupational self-efficacy rather than on their academic performance. It is also obvious that socio-economic environment appeared to have an indirect impact on students because it influences parents’ self-efficacy and their educational aspiration for their wards.

Examining the reason behind students’ decision in choosing a particular course of study, Maringe (2006) finds that students choose a career based on their interest, employment opportunities and career prospect after graduation. However, many students choose a career not because they find delight in the job afterward but because they see it as a fast rising opportunity for quick employment after graduation. Hence, their main objective is towards gainful employment after graduation. There are various factors associated with students’ career decision this includes the relationship between gender and students’ decisions to pursue a career in entrepreneurship due to increased prospect in employment. However, Schwars, Wdowiak, Almer-Jarz, and Breitenecker (2009) suggest that male students express deep interest in having their own business than female students. The opportunity to undertake is another factor affecting students’ career decision. It has been argued that work experience provides students with opportunities to explore different jobs and learn about their future career (Siriwan, 2011). Feldman and Whitecomb (2005) opine that students with limited work experience tend to lack the stability to generate career options or make career decision based on career interest rather than abilities associated with their career. Hence, students with work experience; all which are considered to be psychological factors might not be able to adequately close a career that will facilitate economic growth of the nation.

The extent to which sociological factors predict career decision of students cannot be underestimated. Annualizing the sociological factor that determines career decision include the parental influence or background and school environment of students. It is important to note that both parental influence and background and school environments enormously conjoined with psychological variables to determine the career option of students. This means that not single variable influence career decision of students.

Parental influence or background plays an important role in students’ career decision making. This can be illustrated thus: illiterate parents with low socio-economic status might not see the need to influence and support their wards towards choosing a career that is lucrative instead, they would prefer them choosing career that can easily be ventured to after graduation. According to Max, Ellsworht and Hawley (2008), graduates teachers who indicated strong persistence and satisfaction with their teaching career who had fathers who were teachers are few compared to those that their fathers are in another field. This shows that graduates career similarity to their parents particularly their mothers, was a factor predicting job satisfaction and career persistence.

The education background of parents therefore influence the level at which students chooses their career. It is believed that level of socio-economic status/structure of a family influence the career decision of students’ right from elementary schools. Greenbank and Hepworth (2008) opine that lack of financial support have negative impact on students decision making. It is obviously difficult for a student from a very low socio-economic background to finance his or her education in courses that are money-consuming. In essence, students from a very low socio-economic background will therefore prefer a less expensive career or a course in tertiary institutions.

Culture is believed to have great impact on the way individual think, behave and make decision (Jefferys, 2004). The impact of culture on career decision highlighted that culture underpins the fundamental judgments that individuals make hence, these judgments influence the behavioral intentions, expectations and outcomes relevant to particular careers in their cultural context. Kooij, de Lange, Jansen, and Dikkers (2008) perceive that career decision suggest that there are similarities in the factor associated with career decision making in different cultures. In Nigeria, the cultural background or individual might influence the nature of career one chooses. For example, those from riverine area of the country will prefer careers relating to their environment rather than very lucrative careers.

School environment is another sociological variable that determines the career choice of students. According to Aikomo (2014), school environment, otherwise known as school climate determines the success of students with high intellectual capabilities. Hence, it affects the career choice of such individual in the future. In a safe and structured environment, students can focus their attention on learning. Therefore the level of conduciveness of the school environment can be predicted to have great influence on the right choice of profession in which such students will focus. Based on the foregoing, the study will investigate the aforementioned psycho-sociological factors as predictive of the career decision of students in some selected secondary schools in Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo State.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Many students in secondary schools do choose career that negatively affect their economic status in the future. This depends on the standing views of such students in conjunction with the views of their parents. However, numerous factors are responsible for the downtrends among which is the perception of parents in decision making of their wards, the school climate, cultural background of students, self-efficacy, personality and parental influence among others.

Psycho-sociological factors are leading concepts in determining the career decision of making of students; yet, it is seldom discussed, researched and critiqued. However, the side effects of wrong or negative career decision are yet to be adequately examined. Therefore, the combined influence of the psycho-sociological factors will result in future decadence of wrong career decision made by students.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

Generally, this study will investigate the psycho-sociological factors as it predicts career decision of students.

Specifically, the study will:

  1. Examine the relationship between psychological factors and sociological factors
  2. Determine the relationship between attitudes and the career decision of students.
  3. Establish the relationship between personality, self-efficacy and career decision making of students.
  4. Find the relationship between culture, parental influence, and school climate and career decision of students of secondary schools.

1.4 Scope of the Study

The study will investigate the psycho-sociological factors that determine or predict career decision of students in secondary schools. Hence, this study will be carried out in some selected secondary schools of Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo State, Nigeria.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The results of this study would be useful to parents, students, teachers, government, and professionals like that of school counselors that are involved in the education of students in secondary schools.

The parents would benefit from the findings of this study, in the sense that they would be able to influence positively the career decisions of their wards. It will identify the various factors that relate to the career decision of their wards; hence, it would enable them to provide the kind of home environment that would enhance positive career decision of their wards.

The findings of the study would equally help the students themselves to identify the relationship between parental involvements in their career decisions. It would enable them to tactically oblige to career that will elevate their socio-economic status and national developments.

Furthermore, teachers of students in secondary schools will benefit from the findings of this study as it shall assist them in inculcating the right knowledge of various resourceful career opportunities to their students. Hence, it will assists the students in choosing the best career options that will elevate their wellbeing and personal up keeping in the future.

Professionals, especially school counselors will benefit from adequately counsel students, especially those in senior secondary schools of the risks that are there in choosing wrong career in life. Also, stakeholders in the aforementioned areas will benefit from this study as the findings shall complement the existing body of knowledge in this area.

1.6 Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms are often used in the study and therefore shall be operationally defined for better understanding.

Decision Making:

This refers to the process of selecting or identifying best option out of many preferences. In other words, decision making entails the process of choosing the best practice out of so many various and available options.


This refers to the professions that are known by various disciplines. Career refers to series of job that a person has in particular area of work, usually involving more responsibility as time passes. In another way round, career can be explained as a chosen area of interest in which an individual finds pleasure doing for uplifting and transforming the economics of self and the nation.


This refers to what initiates and sustains a student’s involvement in the act of learning. To a large extent, it determines the direction and efficiency of learning of students.


It refers to the way one behaves towards someone or something, especially when showing how one feels. Attitude can also be referred to as an imbued trait that can only be perceived when put on display.

Personality Trait:

Personality trait is the biological, genetic makeup of someone, and it is the quality that makes someone interesting, friendly, and enjoyable to be with. It refers to the aspects that determine one’s area of interest.


It is a multidimensional construct that varies according to domains of demands and which can be evaluated at a level of a specific to the outcome domain.

Parental Influence:

This refers to the home environment provided by parents that can ignite or increase the interest of students towards learning or choosing a particular area of human endeavor.


It refers to the cumulative disposition of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meaning hierarchies, religions, notions of time, roles, spatial relations concepts and the universe; and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.

School Environment:

This refers to the physical and instructions available in a learning environment. This includes the type of available personnel, nature, and mode of instruction, classroom management and classroom structures.


This refers to an official examination of facts about a situation, crime or concept. This also refers to the scientific or academic examination of the facts of subject or a period. As used in this study, it refers to the process of examining and testing to know the truth about concepts.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.0 Introduction

This chapter presents the summary of the findings of the study. These finding are discussed, one after the other. Based on the discussion the researchers offered some recommendations and suggestions. It also drawn conclusion on the study.

5.1 Summary of the Main Findings

The main aim of the study is to investigate the psycho-sociological factors as it predicts career decision of students.

The following are the summary of the main findings;

  1. The higher the level of education attained by parents, the higher the career aspiration of the students.
  2. The development in the educational achievement of the students with a better possibility for better career choice is high and the level of education of the parent could be in form of motivation for child to aspire for better jobs in future.
  3. The parent would support and encourage their continuing education up to the tertiary level.
  4. Majority of the students now -a-days decide on their own career choices.
  5. This study entails that the students, after completion of their studies, 30% of the students prefer Health related profession, while 15%, 12%, and 8% prefer engineering, law, and business profession. The remaining profession such as artist, politics, journalism etc. has 30%.
  6. Contrary to this research, it indicates that most students are not willing to take on their parent’s occupation as their future career.

5.2 Discussion

In the earlier part of the 19th century, Agriculture was the parameter used to evaluate the might of the nation and its citizens. But soon after the First World War, national development arouse on industrial development. Nigeria is not left behind in taking a bold measure for national development. The earlier practices of using all members of the family especially males for subsistence farming were abandoned; this necessitated the quest for western education without which mechanization would not be fully realized. Thus, this marks a turning point for education, because mere societies are now enjoying the socio-economic advantage of education. Education is now seen as a vehicle for upward social mobility especially the labour force.

An encouraging development discovered by the study was the higher level of education of most parents. This could be attributed to rowing awareness among parents and the populace that education is a vehicle for rapid social and economic development. One very interesting point the study revealed is the favorable attitude of the parents towards the careers aspire by the students. This is in agreement with the fact that the very high educational attainment on the part of the parents brought about awareness which result in to freedom for the students to choose a career different from their parents and as a result, acceptance of that career choice by the parents. Thus, this satisfies the expectation of alternatives, both educationally and occupationally.

This postulation can be said to be changing for good, since parents in this study now give children freedom to aspire to any career without stereotyping.

Furthermore, the researchers found out that the school did not play much important role in career choice of the students because the guidance and counseling unit in some schools are either ineffective or nonfunctional. These important findings underscore the significance of guidance and counseling in the school. Almost all the students did not know the schools that offer courses of their career aspiration. Because, they responded to a question in the questionnaire that they want study medicine in colleges, while they study arts in secondary school. Most of the students do not possess the necessary background to pursue the career of their choice. This study is in agreement with Naibi (1996), that parents have no direct influence on the children career aspiration, because parents now allow their children both male and females to aspire for any career of their choice. This may be because of the higher level of education attained by the parents.

5.3 Recommendations

  1. Secondary school student’s career aspiration has to be encouraged and completed by the authority concerned. Teachers are to be employed and encouraged to teach in schools to make the students dream a reality. Furthermore, schools should encourage and reinforce the students aspiring for specific profession by organizing competition and activities to promote their field of study in schools most importantly, selection of students read to study a certain course should be based on merit. On the part of the government, it should provide fund to adequately equip the students, the teachers and schools with necessary teaching and learning materials.
  2. Most of the students in this study aspired highest level of education, to achieve this in Ogun; their aspired careers should be sponsored in form of incentives that should be given to hard working students who exceed to pursue a unique aspired career. Since most of the parents under the present dispensation might not be able to afford to pay for the education of their children.
  3. The confidence reposed on school by the parents can be reinforced by the improvement of guidance and counseling activities through;
    • Guidance and Counseling units in the school should be made effective and functional.
    • An improved incentives for career masters in terms of guidance, personal welfare, imposed physical working condition, constant supply of informative materials related to career to broaden the search for career opportunity and allow the guidance masters to guide the students honestly.
    • Parents should cooperate with schools and guidance masters who acquired the student’s performance and capability to assist their children to select appropriate career.
  4. Non- interference of the parents in career aspiration of their children is said to be a positive development. Parents, teachers and society have a duty to encourage the students to achieve their desired objectives. The school must supervise the students and ensure that relevant courses are thought in school.
  5. Students should be enlightened to discharge earlier negative perception imposed on them by society, peer groups, teachers, parents etc.

5.4 Conclusion

The study shows that the high premium of career aspiration or high profession is not in any way influenced by their parents; rather the choice was partly influenced by the student’s personal interest and ability. The study also shows that senior secondary school students are no longer interested in teaching as their aspired profession. Furthermore, students inspired for career different from their parents, given necessary support and encouragement by the parents, teachers and society with proper learning atmosphere.

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