Date of Award

Summer 6-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Lynette Bikos

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Joel Jin

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Jacqui Smith-Bates


Emerging adulthood is a developmental period where individuals begin to learn about themselves, their interests and abilities, and begin to lay foundations for their adult occupations (Arnett, 2014). During this life stage, individuals are faced with increased challenges that they must navigate in order to launch into adulthood. Career adaptability refers to the ability for an individual to cope with these expected and unexpected challenges including career tasks, transitions, and traumas (Savickas, 2013). It has been shown that supportive networks can help individuals navigate these and move into a more successful career (Len, Hackett, and Brown, 1999; Creed et al., 2009; Cutrona, 1986; Duffy, 2010; Kenny et al., 2003). The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the covarying relationship between career adaptability, social support, and engagement in campus-wide career intervention. The population was 1578 college students (emerging adults) enrolled from fall 2018-winter 2021 in a private Christian institution. They were predominantly female (1208) and white (786). Multi-level modeling was used where social support was entered as a L1 (within person) and L2 (between person) variable. Results indicated that year in school had an effect career adaptability (-0.08, p < .001) and that social support had a strong effect on career adaptability at both L1 (L1; .28, p < .05) and L2 ( L2; .50, p < .001). Social support had no effect on engagement (-0.12, p > .05) and engagement had no effect on career adaptability (0.04, p > .05). However, although not statistically significant, results reflected a trend where increased engagement in a career intervention led to an increased amount of career adaptability over the years so that the first years had identical slopes for level of engagement and by fourth year, these slopes were dramatically different. Overall results indicated that social support maybe an important piece in increasing career adaptability and helping emerging adulthood navigate the transition from student to work.