2012. Vol.3, No.7, 1241-1250
Published Online November 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/ce) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2012.37183
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1241
Career Beliefs of Greek and Non-Greek Vocational
Despina Sidiropoulou-Dimakakou, Katerina Argyropoulou, Nikos Drosos, Maria Terzaki
Career Counseling Research and Assessment Center, Department of Psychology,
University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Received September 5th, 2012; revised October 2nd, 2012; accepted October 17th, 2012
The present study aims at investigating Greek and non-Greek Vocational Education students’ career be-
liefs. The sample consists of 238 students who attend Greek Secondary Vocational Education schools in
the region of Attica. The study also investigates whether various demographic variables (e.g. gender, im-
migrant status, parents’ educational level) differentiate these beliefs. Career beliefs were assessed by Ca-
reer Beliefs Patterns Scale-2. Five factors were found to contribute to career beliefs: Culture & common
practice, Proficiency beliefs, Control & self-direction beliefs, Persistence beliefs, Fatalism & Socioeco-
nomic status impact. The results revealed statistically significant relationships between the level of career
beliefs and gender and immigrant status. Findings are discussed in terms of their practical applications for
Keywords: Career Beliefs; Vocational Education; Immigrants
Over the two last decades, a significant amount of attention
has been directed toward researching career beliefs. Career be-
liefs are a “conglomerate of attitudes, opinions, convictions and
notion, (which) seem to cohere together to create mind-sets and
beliefs that underlie people’s orientation to the idea of a career”
(Arulmani & Nag, 2008: p. 5; Arulmani, Van Laar, & Easton,
2003: p. 194). Career beliefs are defined as positive and nega-
tive thoughts or assumptions people hold about themselves, oc-
cupations, and the career development process (Roll & Arthur,
2002). Career guidance practitioners can often identify several
beliefs of their clients, which influence career decision making.
Negative thoughts prevent the person to think in a systematic
and organized way to solve a problem or to make a favorable
decision. By contrast, positive thoughts help the person to suc-
cessfully combine his knowledge of himself and the world of
work and solve career related problems (Saunders, Peterson,
Sampson, & Reardon, 2000). All career choices or changes in
career behavior require some kind of cognitive intermediation,
and career beliefs operate as the intermediate factors that direct
these changes in a certain direction (Keller et al., 1982).
The present paper, after introducing readers to the theoretical
concept of career beliefs and the high importance of people’s
cultural background, presents the results of a research regarding
career beliefs of Greek and immigrant students who attend Se-
condary Vocational Education Schools in Greece.
The major role of career beliefs in career development has
been demonstrated in several studies (Amundson 1997; Char-
trand & Rose, 1996; Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996). People’s
beliefs about themselves and the world of work influence their
approach to learning new skills, developing new interests, set-
ting career goals, making career decisions, and taking action
towards career goals. Career beliefs may also, be manifested in
various ways during the different stages of the career decision-
making process affecting individual’s aspirations and actions
(Austin, Wagner, & Dahl, 2003), which can lead to making ca-
reer decisions in a certain manner (Clarkson, 2003). The major-
ity of researches regarding career beliefs focus on negative
beliefs that can result in lack of satisfaction with the particular
choice, reduced self-esteem and low confidence in his ability to
take effective decisions (Santos, 2001). The various researchers
have used several different terms to describe these negative
career beliefs, such as: misconceptions (Thompson, 1976), dys-
functional career beliefs (Krumboltz, 1990), self-defeating as-
sumptions (Dryden, 1999), irrational expectations (Nevo, 1987),
dysfunctional cognitions (Corbishley & Yost, 1989), faulty self-
efficacy beliefs (Brown & Lent, 1996) and dysfunctional career
thoughts (Peterson, Sampson, & Reardon, 1991).
According to the theoretical principles of the Social Cogni-
tive Career Theory (SCCT) (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994)
and the Social Learning Theory (Mitchell, Jones, & Krumboltz,
1996) career behavior is largely determined by a person’s be-
liefs and thoughts. Career counselors may help individuals to
recognize, challenge and change such beliefs and to develop
readiness to respond to opportunities in a more rational way
(Nathan & Hill, 2006).
In recent years, career decision-making is a difficult and
confusing process, as career moves away from the older, linear
model based on a network of professional and educational be-
liefs and experiences (Cameron, 2009). Rising unemployment
and economic insecurity lead to psychosocial problems and
maximize negative and dysfunctional thoughts.
Cultural Diversity and Career Beliefs
A growing number of published international studies indicate
that cultural diversity affects career beliefs. Minority popula-
tions confront significantly more problems in their career de-
velopment (Luzzo & McWhirter, 2001; Perrone, Sedlacek, &
D. SIDIROPOULOU-DIMAKAKOU ET AL.
Alexander, 2001). Groups of culturally diverse population seem
to avoid systematic long term planning and tend to aspire for
careers that are considered lower in prestige (Misra & Jain,
1988). According to Gloria and Hird (1999) minority students
might have the skills and abilities to successfully compete with
majority students and make career decisions, but they may not
believe that they will be allowed to enter or to be accepted in
the labor force under the same terms with the majority students.
It is much more likely for minority population to consider their
race as an obstacle in their career development (Luzzo, 1993).
Recent researches in minority students showed that they antici-
pated more obstacles in their future career than the majority
students (McWhirter, 1997), and had much lower self-efficacy
beliefs regarding their ability to overpower these obstacles (Lu-
zzo & McWhirter, 2001).
Beliefs incorporated in the culture of community are likely to
be transferred to the younger members through a process of
social learning, while the appeared models of career opportuni-
ties, the limited representative experiences, and failures play an
important role in the development of self-efficacy for the career
planning (Frost & Marten, 1990). When these beliefs function
as a barrier and do not permit the individuals to engage in ca-
reer decision making, career counseling should focus in chan-
ging these beliefs to more functioning ones.
Many researchers focused on minority groups’ ability to
overcome the various social, educational, and economical ob-
stacles, highlighting the importance of social support, family,
socioeconomic status, and intervention programs (Stewart et al.,
2008). The great significance of feeling that their significant
others (parents, teachers, etc.) support them and have faith in
their abilities and possibilities has been noted by many resear-
ches (Fisher & Padmawidjaja, 1999; Juntunen, Barraclough,
Broneck, Seibel, Winrow, & Morin, 2001).
Greece hosts a large number of foreign students. Immigrants
are estimated in about two millions (in an eleven million popu-
lation country) and they represent a 10% of students in Greek
schools (IPODE, 2009), while in many schools of Athens im-
migrant students exceed 80%.1 They are vulnerable to dis-
crimination, poverty and exploitation. The large percentages of
immigrants create a new situation: research has to be conducted
to determine their needs in order to see what kind of interven-
tion programs should be implemented. It is important to take
into consideration that they do not constitute a homogeneous
group and therefore the various subgroups have different char-
acteristics (Drosos, 2011; Motti et al., 2005, 2008a, 2008b).
The underlying assumption of various studies regarding cultural
diversity and career development in Greece, was that the cul-
turally diverse students face problems in career decision mak-
ing as they have lower level of world of work knowledge (Dro-
sos, 2007, 2011), tend to have problems in career exploration
(Sidiropoulou-Dimakakou, 2003) and seem to exhibit negative
and unhelpful beliefs to the affective dimension of career deci-
sion making (Drosos, 2007, 2011; Drosos & Kassotaki, 2005;
Sidiropoulou-Dimakakou, Argyropoulou, Mylonas, & Beseve-
gis, 2008). Additionally immigrant students in Greece tend to
aspire for careers that are considered lower in prestige (Drosos,
2007; Drosos & Kassotaki, 2005; Papadopoulou, 2005; Sidiro-
poulou-Dimakakou & Drosos, 2010). Their aspirations reflect
Greek society’s career stereotypes regarding minority popula-
tion and their own negative career beliefs, as well as the actual
image of labor market, and as Sidiropoulou, Argyropoulou and
Drosos (2008) have stated “there is a tendency for the devel-
opment of an opinion in society regarding which careers are
considered suitable for Greeks and which for immigrants, simi-
lar to the stereotypes regarding the men’s and women’s careers”.
The highest proportions of foreign students appear in Secon-
dary Vocational Education. According to the statistics of the
Greek Ministry of Education2 for the academic year 2007-2008,
a percentage of 12.8% of non-Greek students attended Voca-
tional High Schools while the percentage of those attended
General Education schools was only 4.3%. Secondary Voca-
tional Education is provided by Vocational High Schools and
Vocational Schools, and seeks to combine general education
with technical vocational knowledge, in order to develop skills,
initiative, creativity, and critical thinking of students. The cur-
ricula of the Vocational High Schools include a limited number
of general education courses, and a larger number of technical-
professional and laboratory exercises. The main reasons of non-
Greek students to continue their studies in vocational rather
than general education are the following: a) there are only a few
language courses in the curriculum of vocational schools and b)
the degree of specificity allows access to the labor market with-
out further studies (Skipitari-Vantsioti, 2011). The connection
of Secondary Vocational Education with the labor market (if
supported by governmental policies) will be crucial in address-
ing the problem of unemployment. In accordance with the pro-
visions of CEDEFOP3 on developments in the field of em-
ployment in Greece, there will be a growth in jobs that need
middle-level skills workers, such as the graduates of secondary
vocational education. It should also be noted that in countries
where Technical-Vocational education is widespread, the youth
unemployment rate is lower. Finally, CEDEFOP emphasizes
the need of assistance and rehabilitation programs for the guid-
ance of students so that students can expand their options and
The Present Study
The specific goals of the present study are to investigate the
career beliefs of Greek and non-Greek Vocational Education
students; and the effect of demographic variables (e.g. gender,
immigrant status, parents’ educational level) in these beliefs.
The findings of the present study should be regarded as a
first stage exploratory attempt. We believe that the results may
contribute to the understanding of students’ career development
and decision-making process and have practice implications for
the design of career guidance activities which focus on the spe-
cific needs of Vocational Education students.
The present study consists of a total sample of 238 students
who attend Greek Secondary Vocational Education schools in
3CEDEFOP (02/2011). Brief Note: “What next for skills in the Euro-
ean Labour Market?” See also CEDEFOP (2010). Skills supply and
demand in Europe: Medium-term forcast up to 2020. Publication Of-
fice of the Euro
ean Union. Luxembur
1Christodoulou Theodoros (2009 June). Immigrants and Multicultural
Education in Greece. Paper presented at the 12th International Confer-
ence “Intercultural Education-Immigration-Conflict Management and
Pedagogics of Democracy.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
D. SIDIROPOULOU-DIMAKAKOU ET AL.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1243
the region of Attica. The sample comprises 184 (77.3%) male
and 54 (22.7%) female respondents. The average age is 16.36
years (SD = 1.30). 165 participants (69.3%) are Greek, while 73
(30.7%) are immigrants.
Regarding the participants’ parents educational level it was
found that the majority has completed the nine years compul-
sory education, whereas a large percentage consists of Univer-
sity graduates and of Primary Education graduates (Table 1).
Career beliefs were assessed by Career Beliefs Patterns Scale
(2) (Arulmani & Nag, 2008), which is consisted of 32 vignettes.
The items are representing as vignettes describing life situations
and are designed to understand negative career beliefs among
students. Responses are recorded on a 7 point Likert response
continuum of I would not agree with this at all (1) to I agree
completely (7). Seven factors are obtained from the factor ana-
lysis of the CBPS, which are called Proficiency Beliefs, Control
and Self-Direction Beliefs, Culture and Common Practice, Self-
worth, Persistence Beliefs, Fatalism Beliefs Scale and Caste
Proficiency Beliefs Scale (8 items): The vignettes in this fac-
tor appear to tap the respondent’s beliefs about the importance
of acquiring qualifications and skills that enhance personal
proficiency for an occupation before entering the world of work.
They describe the willingness to submit to the rigors of a for-
mal training programme and spend resources (time, effort and
finances) to achieve the distinction of being formally quailfied
as per the norms of their society.
Control and Self-Direction Beliefs Scale (8 items): These
items describe circumstances reflecting the individual’s sense
of control over his or her life situation and orientation to di-
recting his or her life. Mind-sets in this category are linked to
the career aspirant’s belief that he or she could deal with the
exigencies presented by life situations and the orientation to
direct and take charge of the way in which his or her life pro-
gresses. These vignettes reflect the confidence to manage the
trajectory of one’s life.
Culture and Common Practice (5 items): These items de-
scribe culturally embedded attitudes to career preparation. They
reflect common practice and unwritten norms that orient the
people of a community and shape their career preparation be-
Self-Worth (2 items): These items refer to beliefs related to
personal ability for career preparation. The items reflect an
overall orientation to being able to prepare for a career. The
items also tap the respondents’ self-worth in relation to aca-
demic performance and career preparation.
Persistence Beliefs (3 items): The vignettes in this factor are
reflecting the determination to work toward future career goals
in spite of difficulties and barriers encountered during the pro-
cess of career preparation. Beliefs within this category reflect
the resolve to persevere with determination toward career
goals. These items also reflect a sense of purposefulness and
resolve to strive for positive outcomes in the future. To this end
they reflect the quality of the respondent’s orientation to the
Fatalism (4 items): The items portray a sense of resignation
and a passive acceptance of one’s life situation. These vignettes
are coloured by the feeling of pessimism and a sense that noth-
ing can be changed and that matters are preordained by more
Caste Beliefs (2 items): Caste by its very nature is based on
occupational structures and hierarchies that are deeply embed-
ded in India culture. It is possible that while a person from a
“lower caste” may be able to break through the material disad-
vantages inflicted by caste, socio-cultural forces may continue
to influence mind sets which in turn could have an impact on
The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was used to estimate the
internal reliability of the seven sub scales, measured from 0.44
to 0.69 for each one of the 7 factors (Arulmani & Nag, 2008).
Following a review of available career beliefs measures, the
Career Beliefs Pattern Scale was selected to be translated into
Greek and used. The selection was made based on the follow-
ing theoretical and psychometric evidence:
1) In the present study we were interested to measure a num-
ber of beliefs tapped by this instrument e.g. culturally embed-
ded attitudes to career preparation, socio-cultural forces that in-
fluence career beliefs.
2) Construction and standardization samples of CBPS in-
cluded a number of 1253 students of vocational institutions,
and the mean age of the total sample was 16.40 years.
3) CBPS is consisted of vignettes which are describing life
situations and are designed to understand negative career be-
liefs among students. The use of vignettes has been found to be
a credible research device in situations when the re-creation of
real life event is difficult (Wilson & While, 1998), while it
seems to offer enjoyment and creativity for the informant
(Schoenberg & Raydal, 2000).
4) As an alternative tool we studied the CBI (Krumboltz,
1991, 1999) and decided not to use it in the present research.
Frequencies of participants’ immigrant status and parents’ educational level.
Parents’ education level/
Immigrant status Greek Non-Greek Total Greek Non-Greek Total
Primary Education 41 (25.3%) 18 (25.0%) 59 (25.2%) 29 (17.9%) 11 (15.1%) 40 (17%)
Secondary Education 79 (48.8%) 33 (45.8%) 112 (47.9%) 100 (61.7%) 41 (56.2%) 141 (60%)
University 28 (17.3%) 16 (22.2%) 44 (18.8%) 22 (13.6%) 14 (19.2%) 36 (15.3%)
MSc/PhD 14 (8.6%) 5 (6.9%) 19 (8.1%) 11 (6.8%) 7 (9.6%) 18 (7.7%)
Total 162 (69.2%) 72 (30.8%) 234 (100%) 162 (68.9%) 73 (31.1%) 235 (100%)
D. SIDIROPOULOU-DIMAKAKOU ET AL.
Our skepticism had to do partly with the fact that many of the
beliefs measured by this instrument were not of our scientific
interest. Besides, concerns have been expressed regarding in-
ternal consistency of some scales (AMECD Newsnotes, 1992;
Dolenz, 1993; Fuqua & Newman, 1994; Turner, 2011), and
suggestions have been done for reorganizing scales to improve
reliability and validity (Dolenz, 1993; Fuqua & Newman, 1994).
Also, it has been stated that it is not clear how beliefs are de-
fined in the CBI framework (Walsh, 1994), and that it has not
been established how the scale scores relate to career progress
or development (Wall, 1994).
In order for the instrument to correspond to the Greek educa-
tional system and the Greek society structure we translated it
into Greek and adapted several items. During this phase peri-
odic e-mail communication between the translator and the au-
thor of the English version were established. In a pilot study the
translated CBPS was administered to a small sample of Greek
(N = 10) and non-Greek (N = 10) vocational high school stu-
dents to seek feedback on the meaning of the items. Based on
the participants’ responses and general comments, further chan-
ges were made to the CBPS.
The Greek version of the CBPS was administered during
regular class hours. Students were asked to read the instructions
carefully and after the administration they had a short debrief-
ing about the purpose of the study and were thanked for their
Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to categorize the
scale’s items into larger homogeneous groups, in order to better
describe the internal structure of the students’ responses. Factor
analysis included 32 items for the 238 students. Principal
Component Analysis with varimax rotation was used as extrac-
tion method. Through repeated iterations, it was decided to dis-
miss 4 items that did not fulfill the statistical conditions to be
included in the factorial structure. The following criteria were
used to determine the extraction of the factors:
a) The Kaiser criterion indicating Eigen values greater than
b) Cattell’s scree test;
c) The interpretability of the solution.
The final solution for the 28 remaining items (having as the
cut point loading the 0.35) revealed five (5) factors, to which
43.44% of the variance can be attributed. For this analysis
ΚΜΟ = 0.79, χ² for the Bartlett’s test of sphericity = 1553.44
(df = 378, p < 0.001). All loadings of the measurements in the
five factors based on this solution are presented in Table 2.
The five factors can be described as following:
Results of the factor analysis for the 28 items of the Career Belief Patterns Scale.
Items 1 2 3 4 5
20. Some careers have a low status in society. I cannot choose such a career because this choice will
upset my family and will affect other aspects of my life. 0.63 –0.05 0.06 0.04 0.08
21. Talent and career may not go together. I may be talented in something but my
family and others may expect me to do something else. It is difficult for me to go against them. 0.60 0.21 0.10 –0.04 0.01
19. There are some careers a person cannot choose. For example a boy cannot
become a nurse or a girl cannot become a carpenter. If I choose a career that is
different from my friends, then I will be left out of the group. So it is best that I choose what others
0.60 0.22 –0.00 0.02 0.01
22. I often make mistakes and I have many weaknesses. I think I make so many mistakes that I will not
be able to be well prepared for my career. 0.55 0.01 0.28 0.24 –0.09
29. I cannot make a career choice that is completely different from what my family expects me to do.0.52 0.11 –0.21 0.32 0.12
18. Girls can get educated up to a certain level and then they have to stop. Their basic responsibility is
their family. 0.48 0.31 –0.13 –0.05 0.11
15. E. lives in a village. In order for him/ her to prepare for his career E. has to go to the city. This
movement is very difficult for him/her. So, E. won’t manage to get a good job. 0.45 0.24 0.27 0.12 0.02
17. Boys are better at earning a living and girls are better at taking care of the
family. So career preparation is mainly for boys. 0.40 0.30 0.18 –0.18 0.29
6. In school we don’t learn much. So rather than studying for a long time, it is better to find a job and
get work experience. That way we start learning the job and earning income quickly. 0.08 0.70 0.10 –0.05 0.01
2. Exams for entering University are too difficult for me to pass. So, it is better to try for a job without
trying to pass these exams. 0.02 0.66 0.12 0.21 0.03
3. I can get a job after High School and earn almost 800 € per month. So there is no need for me to get a
degree. 0.22 0.65 –0.01 0.13 –0,05
1. G. studied and got a degree. Nevertheless, G. still doesn’t have a job. Therefore studying after high
school is no use. 0.00 0.57 0.21 0.17 –0.03
8. Studying is for certain kinds of people. If you are not that type of person it is better to stop your
studies as soon as possible. 0.30 0.45 0.12 0.12 –0.06
5. F. failed in High School, but luckily he/ she got a job that pays him/ her well. Since F. has a job, there
is no need for him/ her to try to complete High School. 0.30 0.44 –0.01 0.22 0.06
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
D. SIDIROPOULOU-DIMAKAKOU ET AL.
13. Working hard is not enough. Luck and other factors are important. Without that
success in life may not become a reality. –0.06 0.06 0.64 0.09 0.11
14. The responsibility to find a job is not mine alone. Society and the government
must also give me opportunities and support me in my job and my welfare. –0.22 –0.04 0.62 –0.01 0.16
16. There are too many factors beyond my control that I have to take into consideration for the prepara-
tion of my future career. I do not know what will happen in the future. So planning my career is too
difficult for me.
0.22 0.12 0.55 –0.01 0.20
11. Many things are not in our control. I do not know what kinds of difficulties I may face if I pre
for a career. Therefore I may not be successful in planning my future career. 0.30 0.12 0.54 0.04 –0.00
10. All people may become rich through hard work. Nevertheless, a person originated from a family
with low socioeconomic status will always face difficulties in getting accepted by society. 0.13 0.11 0.47 0.02 0.08
9. P. has the potential to do well. But he/ she comes from a very poor family, and his/ her father is an
unqualified worker. Therefore, it would be very difficult for him/ her to build a secure future. 0.32 0.14 0.38 0.24 –0.16
24. S. joined an institute where he/ she is studying many subjects. If S. finishes, he/ she will get a goo
job, but he/ she finds some of the subjects very difficult. S. feels it is too much for him and that he should
drop out of the course.
0.16 0.19 –0.08 0.61 0.08
25. D. joined a course in basic computer skills for beginners. The course was hard and D. finds it boring.
D. feels this course is not suitable for him/ her and is thinking of stopping. –0.12 0.13 0.17 0.61 0.17
26. E. has taken up a course that will give him/ her a good job. But after joining E. found that the course
is taught in English. His/ her English is poor. So E. is thinking of dropping out of the course. 0.03 0.09 0.04 0.62 0.14
27. In my life there are many situations and factors beyond my control. Therefore I cannot think abou
the future and my career. 0.37 0.01 0.13 0.58 –0.04
32. According to the law, no discrimination in the world of work is allowed. But this does not work in
reality. Socioeconomic status plays a very strong role in career development. –0.02 –0.02 0.06 0.08 0.78
28. Life situations have such a strong impact in career choice that in reality we cannot “choose” ou
careers. We can only take what is offered to us and do the best with that. 0.06 0.24 0.13 0.15 0.59
30. I have seen how others have tried to develop their lives. I realise that building a career is difficult. I
think one should choose what he can and manage. –0.11 –0.22 0.22 –0.00 0.57
31. I think that the socioeconomic status of my family has a strong influence on my career development.0.25 0.01 0.08 0.18 0.54
Variance explained (total: 43.44%) 11.39% 10.24% 7.99% 7.08% 6.73%
Internal Consistency Coefficients 0.75 0.73 0.63 0.60 0.60
1) Culture and Common Practice: This factor refers to career
beliefs and to attitudes regarding career preparation that have
been developed through society’s and culture’s unwritten
norms and rules (e.g. gender issues: Girls can get educated up
to a certain level and then they have to stop. Their basic re-
sponsibility is their family). A high score in this factor indicates
the great significance of these unwritten norms.
2) Proficiency Beliefs: This factor refers to a person’s beliefs
regarding the necessity of acquiring qualifications and skills
that will maximize his/her performance at work, or will allow
him/her to search for a more suitable occupation (e.g. Exams
for entering University are too difficult for me to pass. So, it is
better to try for a job without trying to pass these exams). Peo-
ple with high scores in this factor have great willingness to
undertake the necessary training in order to acquire qualifica-
tions and skills.
3) Control and Self Direction Beliefs: This factor refers to the
level of the confidence to manage the trajectory of one’s life.
Situations and experiences influence the direction that one’s life
can take. The items in this Factor describe circumstances re-
flecting the individual’s sense of control over his or her life
situation and orientation to directing his or her life (e.g. Work-
ing hard is not enough. Luck and other factors are important.
Without that success in life may not become a reality). A high
score in this factor indicates that the person feels that he/ she is
in control of his/ her life.
4) Persistence Beliefs: This factor refers to the person’s de-
termination to achieve his/her career goals and overcome all
possible barriers and problems that will occur during career
preparation (e.g. E. has taken up a course that will give him/
her a good job. But after joining E. found that the course is
taught in English. His/ her English is poor. So E. is thinking of
dropping out of the course). A high score in this factor indi-
cates high level of determination to fulfill career goals and a
sense of purposefulness.
5) Fatalism and Socioeconomic Status Impact: This factor
refers to a passive attitude towards life, and a feeling of pessi-
mism that nothing can be changed as everything is already pre-
ordained. The factor also reflects the feeling that the person’s
socioeconomic status has a major role in his career develop-
ment and determines his career future (e.g. I think that the so-
cioeconomic status of my family has a strong influence on my
career development). A high score in this factor indicates that
the person has a high level of pessimism and he/she attributes a
great importance to his/her socioeconomic status regarding
his/her career future.
The estimated internal consistency coefficients of the afore-
mentioned categories of CBPS were 0.75, 0.73, 0.63, 0.60 and
While in the original Indian version of CBPS “higher scores
indicate higher negativity in the content of career beliefs”
(Arulmani & Nag, 2008: p. 16), we have chosen to calculate the
scores in each factor having in mind that higher scores will
indicate higher degree of the particular characteristic (e.g. a
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1245
D. SIDIROPOULOU-DIMAKAKOU ET AL.
high score in the “Proficiency beliefs” subscale indicates great
willingness to acquire qualifications and skills, a high score in
the “Control and self-direction beliefs” subscale indicates that
the person feels that he/ she is in control of his/her life, etc.).
Subsequently, we tested for normality of the distributions
using the K-S test in order to determine whether we should use
parametrical criteria or not. All distributions were normal. We
also calculated the mean scores and standard deviations of the
five career beliefs factors (c). The minimum possible score in
each category is 1 and represents low level of the factor while
the maximum possible score is 7 and represents high level of
Most of the factors had rather high scores. The highest score
was on “Proficiency Beliefs” (M = 5.18, SD = 1.20). Subse-
quently, quite high scores were achieved in “Persistency Be-
liefs” (M = 4.79, SD = 1.22) and in “Control and Self-Direction
Beliefs” (M = 4.32, SD = 1.11). Finally, the lowest scores were
in “Fatalism and Socioeconomic Status Impact” (M = 4.09, SD
= 1.28) and in “Culture and Common Practice” (M = 2.87, SD
Two-way ANOVAs were used to assess the effects of both
gender and immigrant status on career beliefs’ levels. The
analyses comprised a 2 (gender: male vs female) × 2 (immi-
grant status Greek vs Non-Greek) between-participants design
with the career beliefs’ factors as dependent variables.
The ANOVAs revealed a significant main effect for gender
regarding “Culture & Common Practice” [F(1,234) = 6.89, p <
0.01]. Male students had significantly higher scores (M = 3.04,
SD = 1.13) than female students (M = 2.31, SD = 1.03) in
“Culture & Common Practice”. No significant gender main
effects were found regarding the other career beliefs factors.
Immigrant status had significant main effects in all career be-
liefs factors. Greek students had significantly higher scores than
immigrant students in “Proficiency Beliefs” [F(1,234) = 18.86,
p < 0.001], “Control & Self Direction Beliefs” [F(1,234) =
13.08, p < 0.001], and “Persistency Beliefs” [F(1,234) = 4.63, p
< 0.05]. They had lower scores than immigrant students in
“Culture & Common Practice” [F(1,234) = 18.31, p < 0.001],
and “Fatalism & Socioeconomic Status Impact” [F(1,234) =
6.72, p = 0.01]. Table 3 presents the F ratios, mean scores and
standard deviations of career belief factors for the Greek and
No significant interactions between gender and immigrant
status were revealed.
The correlations matrix between career beliefs factors scores,
students’ age and parents’ educational level is displayed in
Table 4. As expected, there are many low or medium but sig-
nificant correlations between the factors (in the expected direc-
tion). This is a supporting evidence for the factors’ independ-
ence. Age is not correlated with any career belief factor. Finally,
parents’ educational level is positively correlated with “Profi-
ciency Beliefs” (r[father] = 0.22, p < 0.01, and r[mother] = 0.13,
p < 0.05 ), but the correlation is quite low. Further analyses to
examine parents’ educational level and career beliefs relation-
ship separately for Greek and immigrant students revealed no
significant correlations for immigrant students, while for Greek
students there were: a) low positive significant correlation with
“Proficiency Beliefs” (r[father] = 0.32, p < 0.001, and r[mother]
= 0.24, p < 0.01) and b) low negative correlation between fa-
ther’s level and “Culture and Common Practice” (r[father] =
–0.22, p < 0.01).
The results of our research suggest that the following five
factors contribute to career beliefs of students who attend Sec-
ondary Vocational Education schools in Greece: “Culture &
Common Practice”, “Proficiency Beliefs”, “Control & Self
Direction Beliefs”, “Persistence Beliefs”, “Fatalism & Socio-
economic Status Impact”. Career Beliefs Patterns Scale (2)
seems to be a reliable measure of negative career beliefs in the
There is a great coincidence of the factors found in the pre-
sent study with the factors of the initial research in India. We
can see that the original factors “Fatalism” and “Caste Beliefs”
(proposed by CBPS authors) constitute a new factor which was
labeled “Fatalism & Socioeconomic Status”. Additionally, the
original factor “Self-Worth Beliefs” was not foundby the Factor
Analysis. It should be mentioned that the original factors “Caste
Beliefs” and “Self-Worth Beliefs” were comprised by only two
F ratios, mean scores and standard deviations for the five factors of CBPS for the Greek and immigrants students
Factors Status N Mean Std. DeviationF df p
Greek 165 2.59 1.04
Culture & Common Practice
Immigrant 73 3.35 1.16
18.31 1, 234 <0.001
Greek 165 5.53 1.05
Immigrant 73 4.50 1.13
18.86 1, 234 <0.001
Greek 165 4.53 1.10
Control & Self Direction
Beliefs Immigrant 73 3.90 1.03
13.08 1, 234 <0.001
Greek 165 4.94 1.20
Immigrant 73 4.49 1.26
4.63 1, 234 <0.05
Greek 165 3.96 1.27
Fatalism & Socioeconomic Status
Impact Immigrant 73 4.38 1.25
6.72 1, 234 0.01
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
D. SIDIROPOULOU-DIMAKAKOU ET AL.
Descriptive statistics and person correlations coefficients of career belief patterns, parents’ educational level, and age.
M1 SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Culture and Common Practice 2.87 1.15 1 –0.54** –0.31** –0.33** 0.16** 0.03
2. Proficiency Beliefs 5.18 1.20 1 0.30** 0.35** –0.10 –0.01 0.22** 0.13*
3. Control and Self-Direction Beliefs 4.32 1.11 1 0.25** –0.30** –0.07 0.01 0.00
4. Persistence Beliefs 4.79 1.22 1 –0.25** –0.00 0.11 0.07
5. Fatalism and Socioeconomic Status
Impact 4.09 1.28 1 0.10
6. Age 16.37 1.30 1
7. Father’s Educational Level 2.09 0.87 1 0.54**
8. Mother’s Educational Level 2.13 0.78 1
Notes: 1: Career Beliefs Factors: 1 = low level, 7 = high level, Educational level: 1 = Primary Education, 2 = Secondary Education, 3 = University/College, **Correlation is
significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). *Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
vignettes and they had quite low reliability coefficients (0.44
and 0.46) (Arulmani & Nag, 2008). Despite the small differences
in the factorial structure, the results of our research seem to be
the most prominent and provide us the best description of the
internal structure of the students’ responses.
The factors “Proficiency Beliefs” and “Persistence Beliefs”
were quite high for the students of the sample. High scores in
“Proficiency Beliefs” shows students’ willingness to submit to
the rigors of a formal training program and spend resources
(time, effort and finances) to achieve the distinction of being
formally qualified as per the norms of their society. Accord-
ingly, high scores in “Persistence Beliefs” reflect a sense of
purposefulness and resolve to strive for positive outcomes in
the future. Therefore, our results suggest that a high proportion
of students attending secondary vocational education in our
country has understand the importance of obtaining certifica-
tion and qualifications for entering the world of work and rec-
ognizes the existence of difficulties due to learning, social,
employment conditions, so as to adopt positive beliefs to ad-
We should also highlight the quite low score in the “Culture
and Common Practice” factor, which indicate that unwritten
norms are of low significance for the students. Culturally em-
bedded attitudes, such as gender issues, regarding career prepa-
ration do not work very negatively for the students of our re-
search orienting them to certain careers and shaping their career
behavior4. Although immigrant students had a higher score than
natives, their level of these dysfunctional thoughts was rela-
tively low as well.
The present research found also significant relationships be-
tween students’ gender and the level of career beliefs’ factors.
In “Culture and Common Practice” males reported higher
scores than their female classmates. This means that in the
aforementioned factors males revealed more negatives career
beliefs to culturally embedded attitudes regarding career prepa-
ration. Males seem harder to reject beliefs and practices on
education and vocational rehabilitation that are considered cul-
turally established in our country, compared with females. This
comes as no surprise, considering that female students in voca-
tional schools have already made a choice (attending vocational
education) that seems to be the first major confrontation with
the prevailing perception “describing” the sector of vocational
education as more suitable for males.
Greek students were found to have fewer negatives career
beliefs than immigrant students. These differences existed in all
the career beliefs factors. These findings may be associated
with immigrant students’ adjustment difficulties to the demands
of the Greek educational system, and difficulties of integration
and acceptance by the entire educational community. Contem-
porary studies indicate that the “immigrant status” is associated
with the person’s self-perception, the way he/she understands
his/her career opportunities, and his/her self-restricted beliefs
(Drosos, 2011; Luzzo, 1993, Luzzo & McWhirter, 2001;
McWhirter, 1997; Motti-Stefanidi et al., 2005; Sidiropoulou &
Drosos, 2010). According to Gloria and Hird (1999) minority
students might think that they will not be accepted in the world
of work under the same terms with the majority students, al-
though they may have the abilities and skills to successfully
compete with them. There is a distinction between the career
opportunities that a person has; and the career opportunities that
he believes he has (Griffith, 1980).
Our results are consistent with various researches in Greece
and abroad. Luzzo (1993) reports that it is much more likely for
African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and
Philippian-Americans to perceive their race as an obstacle to
their career development in comparison to European-Americans.
McWhirter (1997) found that Mexican-American students an-
ticipated more barriers in their future careers than Euro- pean-
Americans. According to Luzzo and McWhirter (2001) minor-
ity populations not only anticipate more obstacles, but they also
have less self-efficacy beliefs regarding their ability to surpass
them. Finally, recent researches in Greece found that immigrant
students have lower levels of self-efficacy (Motti-Stefanidi et
al., 2005) and report a higher level of dysfunctional career
thoughts (Drosos, 2011; Sidiropoulou & Drosos, 2010) than
their native classmates.
Finally, a significant relationship was revealed between par-
ents’ educational level and “Proficiency Beliefs” for Greek
students, suggesting that parents with higher education level
convey positive values to their children, which estimate educa-
4It should be noted that female students scored lower than their male
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 1247
D. SIDIROPOULOU-DIMAKAKOU ET AL.
tion as an important factor of personal and career development.
However the correlation was rather low, while no such correla-
tion was found for immigrant students. Other findings have
highlighted the important role that parents play in the career
beliefs of Greek (Gari, 1993; Sidiropoulou-Dimakakou, My-
lonas, & Argyropoulou, 2003) and non-Greek students (Sidi-
ropoulou-Dimakakou, Argyropoulou, Mylonas, & Besevegis,
2008). Further research is necessary for a better understanding
of the relationship between the family’s educational status and
Implications for Career Counselors in School Settings
Career counsellors and school vocational guidance practitio-
ners have the duty to help individuals who are less fortunate
and thus socially excluded by virtue of who they are, where
they are, or some combination thereof to overcome hopeless-
ness and lack of motivation based on perceived lack opportuni-
ties and power, as well as perceived personal inadequacies and
lack of confidence (Blustein, 2001, 2006). As noted above, ca-
reer counseling that address career beliefs could create a plat-
form upon which young people approach career decisions mak-
ing and planning in a more proactive manner (Arulmani, Van
Laar, & Easton, 2003). Initially, career counselors are necessary
to assist the individual to be creative in finding alternative
pathways to achieve important goals.
The present research has indicated that investigations into
social-cognitive variables such as career beliefs could play a
vital role in redefining the practice of career guidance in Greek
society. Nevertheless, a wide study regarding the relationship of
various socio-economic factors (such as unemployment, eco-
nomic crisis, performance, employment opportunities) and ne-
gative career beliefs could help us to improve more the career
counseling services in the shadow of the recent economic crisis
that has hit Greece.
Limitations of the Study
This study is not without limitations. First, all the data were
collected by self-report scales; and this may raise issues re-
garding the truthfulness of the responses. Second, results of this
study cannot be generalized to all vocational education students
due to the small sample, and to the fact that all schools were
selected from within a specific district. Additionally, the use of
parents’ educational level as an indicator of the student’s so-
cioeconomic status is not an efficient way of measuring the
specific variable, although it is widely used. Another weakness
may be that immigrant students were considered as one homo-
geneous group, despite the fact they originated from different
countries. The small size of the sample did not allow us to ex-
amine differences between the various countries, but further
research is needed.
Regarding the present study’s aims, the results provide us a
quite interesting image of the vocational education students’
career beliefs. Despite the above limitations, the findings could
help career counselors who work with vocational education
students in better understanding their clients’ career develop-
ment and decision making difficulties. Career beliefs may be
associated with various other variables, e.g. students’ school
grades, students’ career aspirations, personality characteristics,
etc.; and more research is necessary to guide career intervention
efforts for these students. Future research should also examine
further discrepancies in career development among immigrant
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