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Master of Science (M.S.)

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occupation; prestige; personality; psychosocial development


This study examined whether level of occupational prestige in early adulthood and rate of change in occupational prestige had an effect on psychosocial development in middle adulthood and whether gender had an effect on occupational prestige and psychosocial development. Utilizing a subsample from the Rochester Adult Longitudinal Study (RALS), 180 participants were assessed longitudinally, approximately every eleven years after their original assessment in 1966 as college students. Results showed that over time individuals improve in their sense of work competency and individuals differ in their rate of change in occupational prestige over time. However, contrary to the hypotheses, findings indicated that there were no significant relationships between occupational prestige in early adulthood and psychosocial development in middle adulthood. The results also revealed a significant gender difference with respect to occupational prestige with males on average having higher occupational prestige compared to females. In all, it was shown that how productive and confident people perceive themselves to be in the workforce differs. However, there is no direct relationship between occupational prestige how self-perception of work competency. Findings highlight the importance of Eriksonian theory in that individuals continue to develop psychosocially over time.


First Advisor

Susan Krauss Whitbourne