Do You Think I’m Worth It? The Self-Verifying Role of Parental Engagement in Career Adaptability and Career Persistence Among STEM Students

Rajiv K. Amarnani, Patrick Raymund James M. Garcia, Simon Lloyd D. Restubog, Prashant Bordia, Sarbari Bordia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Parents contribute a great deal to their children’s career development. Despite the central importance of the self-concept to career development, little research has examined the role played by parental engagement in the link between the child’s self-concept and career development. Integrating self-verification and career construction theories, we develop and test the prediction that parental engagement indirectly contributes to career adaptability and career persistence by serving as a tacit signal of the child’s positive worth. Using a time-lagged survey design, we tested the proposed moderated mediation model in a sample of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) university students. The results show full support for the hypothesized model. Consistent with self-verification theory, STEM students’ self-esteem was only associated with subsequent career adaptability and career persistence if they also perceived high levels of parental engagement. This result held despite statistically controlling for parent-reported parental engagement. We discuss implications for career development, STEM career persistence, and career counseling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-94
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Career Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • STEM careers
  • career adaptability
  • career persistence
  • parental engagement
  • self-esteem
  • self-verification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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