This study aimed to illuminate the implications of adolescents’ relationships with mothers and fathers for their career development processes and, in turn, their occupational attainment in young adulthood across a 10–12-year period. Grounded in the career construction theory, which highlights adolescence as a significant period of preparation for career attainment and families’ role in this process (Savickas, 2013), we tested the mediating effect of adolescent career adaptivity, a fundamental component of career adaptation, in the longitudinal links between mother- and father-adolescent relationship quality and young adult occupational prestige. We also compared mothers’ and fathers’ roles in these links and tested youth gender moderation. Data came from mothers, fathers, and 236 youth (122 firstborns and 114 secondborns; 53% female) from 147 European American working- to middle-class families. Structural equation modeling tested whether effects of relationships with mothers and fathers at Time 1 (adolescents’ Mage = 15.17, SD = .96) were mediated by Time 2 (1 year later) adolescent career adaptivity, represented by academic performance, sense of control, and self-worth, in relation to occupational prestige at about age 26. Results showed that career adaptivity fully mediated the link between mother-adolescent relationship quality and young adult occupational prestige, but the effects of father-adolescent relationship quality were nonsignificant, though model comparison did not reveal a significant difference between mother and father effects. There were no differences by youth gender. Findings contribute to understanding of families’ role in youth career development and future attainment and add to the literature on career construction theory.
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- career development
- occupational attainment
- parent-adolescent relationship quality
- young adulthood