• Toni Babarović Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb
  • Iva Šverko Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb




career construction, career adaptability, career maturity, career decision-making difficulties, adolescents


This study investigated the vocational development of Croatian high school students. High school students start planning their careers in early adolescence, and they have to make important career decisions at the end of the secondary school. Therefore, we compared the first and the fourth graders (n1st = 309, n4th = 492) in several aspects of their career development. Participants completed paper-and-pencil measures regarding the realization of career construction tasks (SCCI), career decision-making difficulties (CDDQ) and career adaptability (CAAS). Results showed appropriate reliability and structural validity of all instruments. The senior students had a somewhat higher level of career maturity measured by the Occupational Exploration, Career Decision-Making, and Skilling and Instrumentation subscales of SCCI. Small age differences were observed in career decision-making difficulties (Lack of Readiness, Lack of Information, and Inconsistent Information subscales), where the junior students expectedly expressed more difficulties. The only increase in career adaptability was found for the Concern subscale, showing that career adaptability did not change much during the early-to-middle adolescence shift. Additionally, we did not find a considerable moderating effect of gender on age difference in career maturity, indicating that the same problem equally affected boys and girls. The observed progress in vocational development during secondary school was generally small, both for boys and girls. Therefore, it is very important to foster vocational development of all students by implementing broad and comprehensive career education and guidance programs in regular secondary school curriculum.


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