Developing, validating, and testing improved measures within the Psychology of Working Theory

Ryan D. Duffy, Nicholas Gensmer, Blake A. Allan, Haram J. Kim, Richard P. Douglass, Jessica W. England, Kelsey L. Autin, David L. Blustein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Several recent studies have examined the predictor portion of the Psychology of Working Theory (PWT; Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, & Autin, 2016), finding support for numerous propositions while also identifying limitations in the assessment of key variables: economic constraints, marginalization, and career adaptability. In the current manuscript we seek to address these limitations. First, in Study 1, we develop two face valid, short measures of lifetime experiences of marginalization and economic constraints. Drawing from a sample of 196 racial/ethnic minority (REM) working adults, exploratory factor analysis was used to finalize items and scale scores were compared to similar measures (e.g. subjective social status, everyday discrimination experiences) and decent work. Findings suggest strong reliability among scale scores from both new instruments, and hierarchical regression analyses revealed that each new instrument was a better predictor of decent work then similar measures used in previous PWT studies. In Study 2, with a new sample of REM working adults (N = 175), we demonstrated further validity evidence of both scales, demonstrating that the measures represent unique constructs and each correlate with similar measures as well as well-being outcomes. In Study 3, we tested the full PWT predictor model using these two new instruments along with a more appropriate measure of career adaptability with a new sample of 287 REM working adults. Using structural equation modeling to test for direct and indirect effects, results suggested that 1) marginalization, work volition, and adaptability were all direct predictors of decent work, 2) economic constraints predicted decent work via work volition, and 3) work volition predicted decent work via career adaptability. Findings may be relevant to scholars using the PWT in research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-215
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Career adaptability
  • Decent work
  • Economic constraints
  • Marginalization
  • Psychology of working
  • Work volition


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