About the Author(s)

Adin Gustina Email symbol
Department of Management, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Department of Business Administration, School of Management, Chaoyang University of Technology, Taichung, Taiwan

Jane S. Liu symbol
Department of Marketing and Logistics Management, School of Management, Chaoyang University of Technology, Taichung, Taiwan

Setyabudi Indartono symbol
Department of Management, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Maria L. Endarwati symbol
Department of Management, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Arum Darmawati symbol
Department of Management, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Gustina, A., Liu, J.S., Indartono, S., Endarwati, M.L., & Darmawati, A. (2024). Connecting the dots: How parent support shapes career readiness through psychological capital. SA Journal of Human Resource Management/SA Tydskrif vir Menslikehulpbronbestuur, 22(0), a2540. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v22i0.2540

Original Research

Connecting the dots: How parent support shapes career readiness through psychological capital

Adin Gustina, Jane S. Liu, Setyabudi Indartono, Maria L. Endarwati, Arum Darmawati

Received: 24 Jan. 2024; Accepted: 09 Apr. 2024; Published: 08 May 2024

Copyright: © 2024. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Orientation: In the digital era, adolescence is a critical stage in individual career readiness.

Research purpose: This study has numerous goals. Firstly, this study investigates the impact of parental support on individual career readiness. Secondly, this study examines the role of psychological capital as a mediator between parental support and individual career readiness. Thirdly, this study analyses the role of individual trait personality as a moderator between parental support and individual career readiness.

Motivation for the study: This research can contribute to a better understanding of how parents can best support their children in preparing for successful careers. By understanding the role of psychological capital and personality traits, this research can help individuals develop a more holistic approach to career development. This can lead to increased career satisfaction and success.

Research approach/design and method: This study used a quantitative approach to examine the career readiness of individuals (final year undergraduate students) before entering the job market (N = 418), which was processed using SPSS PROCESS.

Main findings: This study shows parental support influences individual career readiness. Psychological capital fully mediated the relationship between parent support and individual career readiness. The influence of parental support on individual job readiness is moderated by extroverted personality and conscientiousness. Meanwhile, emotional stability does not moderate the influence of parental support on individual career readiness.

Practical/managerial implications: Parental support can be a meaningful mechanism to enhance career readiness among adolescents through psychological support.

Contribution/value-add: The use of social career cognitive theory (SCCT) and trait activation theory (TAT) to uncover the function of mediating and moderating variables is expanded in this study to examine career readiness. This study is important because it examines the role of parental support in nations where it is prevalent.

Keywords: parental support; career readiness; personality traits; psychological capital; social career cognitive theory; trait activation theory.


The ability of individuals to maintain confidence in their jobs in the 21st century is one of the most essential of today’s society (Beier et al., 2020; Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2002; Shanahan et al., 2002). Researchers have become increasingly interested in understanding how individuals respond to employment changes through their capacities in recent years (Raque-Bogdan et al., 2013). Current technological advancements significantly alter professions and pose a danger to employment. Automation allows machines and computers to perform some technological tasks. Some are concerned that the ongoing process of automation, as demonstrated by computer numerical control machinery, industrial robots and artificial intelligence, will lead to widespread unemployment (Acemoglu & Restrepo, 2019). Individuals must eventually prepare for and protect themselves from the possible threats of digital disruption. Adolescence is a pivotal period in which professional alternatives are investigated, and decisions about future occupations are made (Lim & You, 2019). Adolescents’ job readiness becomes critical in periods of high uncertainty. Individual career readiness is significant as it involves processes and actions that influence one’s future career (Mansor & Tan, 2009).

In today’s rapid technological advancement, social support is an essential component of individual job readiness (Harris et al., 2001; Nabi, 2001; Wang & Fu, 2015). One has long been known to gain advantages from social support (Schultz et al., 2022). Individuals may gain from a supportive environment as it increases their positive aspirations for the future (Higgins et al., 2010). Individuals can benefit from other people’s support by lowering stress and improving positive mood (McCoy & Evans, 2005). Support can be instrumental (suggestions) or emotional (sympathy). Parental support is considered to provide both instrumental and emotional support (Turner et al., 2003) through interaction and involvement in their children’s career readiness (Garcia et al., 2015).

Career readiness is not only an interpersonal process but also a contextual one, and the family setting is regarded as vital for individual career readiness (Ginevra et al., 2015). Previous research has demonstrated that parental support of careers is positively associated with individual professional results (Guan et al., 2016; Raque-Bogdan et al., 2013), and the presence of parents is an essential resource through their children’s views. Individual confidence in taking educational and career hurdles will increase given parental support. Parental support offers the resources needed for career exploration, as well as the confidence and inspiration to follow their career objectives.

Many studies have been conducted on the impact of parental support on individual career readiness (Guan et al., 2015; Sawitri et al., 2014). However, the mechanism behind the influence process has yet to receive much attention. Psychological capital is a concept that is thought to be a bridge mechanism for the influence of parental support on individual career achievement. Psychological capital can be defined as a positive individual development state that includes four components: self-confidence, optimism, hope and persistence (Luthans & Youssef, 2004). Parental support for careers is believed to fulfil the four components of psychological capital.

Parents, becoming the primary source of social support, impact a person’s self-esteem, development of personal interests and career ambitions (Schultheiss et al., 2001). Adolescents regard parental guidance as a valuable resource. They consider their parents as role models who will boost their self-esteem, making them more positive, resilient and hopeful about their future careers. These four elements comprise psychological capital or psychological capital in a career. As a result, this study believes that psychological capital mediates the influence of parental support on individual career readiness.

The influence of parental support on individual career development can be explained through social career cognitive theory (SCCT). According to this concept, an individual’s job is the result of a combination of various elements, including cognitive, contextual and personal factors (Lent & Brown, 1996, 2009). Based on SCCT, the contextual support provided by parents to their children can have both direct and indirect effects on career choices (Ginevra et al., 2015). As noted by Raque-Bogdan et al. (2013), SCCT is an appropriate instrument for investigating either people or contextual factors in career development because it predicts academic and career interest, choice, persistence and success.

Although much research on individual career development has concluded that social support is an important component of career growth, Deelstra et al. (2003) contend that social support does not necessarily have positive consequences. Social support, on the other hand, is regarded negatively as it underestimates a person’s skills. Support can cause a person to feel inferior as if they are being humiliated for his capacity to fend for himself. Given that it is a collectivist country, parental support is dominating in Indonesia, such as the decision-making process in the adolescent career process, it is critical to pay attention to the distinctions in the occurrences described above.

This study believes that differences in the influence of social support are closely related to individual differences, one of them being personality traits. Previous studies classified personality traits into five major categories, which are commonly referred to as ‘The Big Five Personality’ (Funder, 2006), namely conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability, extraversion and openness. According to trait activation theory (TAT) (Tett et al., 2021), behaviour emerges from interactions between certain traits and situations. Specifically, Judge and Zapata (2015) explain that individuals in relevant situations will realise that their innate characteristics provide benefits, which in turn increases intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to perform. The conclusion that can be drawn is that different personality types will react differently to events depending on the context they are in. Based on this explanation, individuals with different personalities will respond to parental support in different ways. The discussion of each personality trait will be discussed in the next section ‘Hypothesis development’. This study will examine the effect of parental support related to careers on individual career development when mediated by psychological capital and moderated by individual traits.

Hypothesis development

Even though the more adult a person is, the more independent they are when it comes to professional growth, they are very dependent on their parents (Trusty et al., 1997). Adolescents frequently struggle to decide on a career path (Latashia, 2012). Previous research indicates that most adolescence do not understand their interests, talents and skills; they do not have realistic career plans and are unaware of the world of work. They also lack maturity in their abilities, they do not understand the needs and skills required for work, and they do not understand the relationship between educational choices and future careers (Babarović et al., 2020).

Thus, parents play a vital role in their children’s career development. Parents have a natural desire to help their children by providing assistance and support (Lent & Brown, 2009; Raque-Bogdan et al., 2013; Sawitri et al., 2014). Parents support their children by discussing numerous activities at school, job opportunities, difficulties and the child’s current state (Trusty et al., 1997). Individuals always need support; as adolescents, they want their parents to be concerned about their everyday activities and to meet their needs and desires. This impression is inevitably linked to the relationship between individuals and their parents.

Turner et al. (2003) explain that an individual’s career grows because of parental support correlated with the development of job skills, career-related compliments, parental role models and emotional support. According to Kotrlik and Harrison (1989), parents have a higher influence on job choices than educators, friends and even student consultants at school. Individuals can benefit from other people’s support as the benefits thereto include lower stress levels and an enhanced good mood (McCoy & Evans, 2005).

This research was built using the SCCT framework. Social career cognitive theory focuses on the role of contextual factors in developing skills, interests, career-related decision-making and satisfaction with individual career choices (Schultz et al., 2022). Support from family, peers, teachers, and others in the school and community setting is conceptualised as environmental support, which supports the development of self-efficacy beliefs and expectations of positive outcomes and the transformation of one’s interests into concrete goals and actions. The core tenet of SCCT is that individuals will take action to attain their goals if they perceive a lot of support and few obstacles. Based on this explanation, the first hypothesis in this study is:

H1: Parental support positively influences individual career readiness.

Based on the SCCT theory, self-efficacy is a potentially useful construct in explaining career behaviour. Furthermore, an earlier study has shown that social support improves career optimism (Garcia et al., 2015). Individual autonomy will be met by psychological capital, which comprises hope, resilience, self-confidence and optimism, increasing employee commitment to their careers (Singhal & Rastogi, 2018). Following previous theoretical rationale, we believe that people with higher psychological capital are inherently better equipped (in terms of personal resources) to adapt their environment to suit their personality and abilities (Garcia et al., 2012). When someone is full of hope, he will seek out challenging tasks and succeed in completing them. When someone receives social support, which is parental support, they will acquire confidence, feel positive, gain hope and be resilient in their careers (Singhal & Rastogi, 2018). The four components are psychological support indicators. Finally, according to SCCT theory, individual career readiness will improve. Based on this explanation, the second hypothesis of this study is:

H2: Psychological capital mediates the positive influence of parental support on individual career development.

Personality is one of the relevant constructs related to the extent to which adolescents are involved in career exploration activities. As stated by Tett et al. (2021), ‘We can see a person’s character through what he does’. This suggests that an individual’s behaviour is influenced by and reflects his personality attributes. According to this explanation, individual behaviour in developing a career is also influenced by the individual’s personality traits. The TAT explains this association. Trait activation theory is a theory that focuses on how people respond to events to explain behaviour based on situational responses related to personality (Lievens et al., 2008). Trait activation theory imposes that situational relevance and trait relevance be matched (Harris et al., 2016; Manteli & Galanakis, 2022; Tett & Guterman, 2000). A strong situation tends to bring out the true nature of the individual, and therefore, it is called an activation theory. Strong situations in the work context mean situations that are structured (high clarity), consistent (high consistency), high coercion (high constraint) and cause strong penalties from negative outcomes (high consequence) (Judge & Zapata, 2015). In other words, significant situations serve as a guide for individuals to determine what is important to them. A weak situation, on the other hand, demonstrates less of the expected behaviour of the individual. Parental support indicates a powerful scenario in which individuals gain clarity about what is expected of them. As a result, the situation in this context occurs strongly, and it is critical to comprehend its implications for individual career development.

Individuals who are more confident in their abilities to make career decisions, according to De Bruin and Bernard-Phera (2002), will have a more positive attitude about career decision-making and will be better equipped to make effective career decisions. The TAT principle highlights the notion that personality traits underlie a person’s predisposition to behave in a particular way. These traits manifest in response to situational and intrinsic stimuli relevant to a person’s traits (Tett et al., 2021). Individuals who are more goal-directed, achievement-oriented, structured and planned (conscientiousness) appear to be more actively involved in job exploration activities than those who are less conscientious. Furthermore, the association between extraversion and exploration may be attributed to the trait that extroverts are more proactive in life than less extroverted people. Moreover, those with emotional stability can overcome their fear while seeking a short-term career. This is consistent with prior research, which indicates that conscientiousness, extraversion and emotional stability are all intimately tied to the process of adolescent career development (Brown & Hirschi, 2013). In keeping with prior research on personality and its impact on individual careers, this study only looks at three of the five categories of individual traits. Based on this explanation, the next hypothesis in this study is:

H3: Extraversion moderates the positive effect of organisational support on individual career readiness.

H4: Conscientiousness moderates the positive influence of organisational support on individual career readiness.

H5: Emotional stability moderates the positive influence of organisational support on individual career readiness.

Research method

A total of 418 final-year undergraduate students were used as participants in this research. We assume that at this point, students have begun to consider their future careers. The sample of participants was dominated by women (65.6%), while 34.4% were men. By age, 125 respondents (29.9%) were aged 17–19 years, as many as 280 respondents (67%) were aged 20–22 years and as many as 13 respondents (3.1%) were aged more than 23 years. Data were collected via a questionnaire on a 5-point Likert scale (totally disagree to totally agree).

The parent support questionnaire instrument was composed of 24 items developed by Turner et al. (2003), 13 items of the career readiness instrument developed by Gati et al. (1996), 13 items of psychological capital questions developed by Nguyen et al. (2019) and 30 items of personality trait question was developed by Choi and Lee (2014). Individual characteristics were measured by three personality traits (extraversion, conscientiousness and emotional stability).

Hypothesis testing was conducted using the SPSS program along with PROCESS, developed by Andrew F. Hayes’ Macro Model. To begin, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was utilised to examine the validity and reliability of the model (Table 1). Pearson’s correlation was used to calculate the correlation between each variable in this study, as well as the mean and standard deviation of each variable (Table 2). Finally, the hypothesis testing results are summarised in Table 3.

TABLE 1: Validity and reliability result.
TABLE 2: Pearson correlation.
TABLE 3: Result of hypothesis testing.
Ethical considerations

Ethical approval to conduct this study was obtained from the Directorate of Research and Community Service Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta. The reference number is T/23.1/UN34.9/KP.06.07/2023.


The results of hypothesis testing are summarised in Table 3.

The first study hypothesis, parental support has positive effects on individual career readiness, is accepted based on the findings of hypothesis testing in Table 3 (β = 0.395; p < 0.01; lower limit confidence interval (LLCI) and upper limit confidence interval (ULCI) ≠ 0). The second hypothesis, psychological capital mediated the influence of parental support on individual career readiness (β = 0.254; p < 0.05; LLCI and ULCI ≠ 0), is accepted as fully mediated by Baron and Kenny (1986) and (Hayes, 2022) about evaluating mediation hypotheses.

Support is given to the third hypothesis, which claims that extraversion moderates the influence of parental support on career readiness (β = 0.097; p < 0.05; LLCI and ULCI ≠ 0). This could be found in the moderation 1 section. The fourth hypothesis, moderation of conscientiousness, is accepted, as evidenced by the interaction effect in Table 3 (β = 0.100; p < 0.05; LLCI and ULCI ≠ 0). Meanwhile, the third hypothesis, which claims that emotional stability lowers the impact of parental support on job readiness, is rejected. The significance of the interaction value in Table 3 under the moderation 3 section was greater than 0.05. Each result is explained in detail in the article’s discussion section.


The findings of this study support the SCCT, which states that an individual’s career is influenced by their social environment. According to Kutlak (2021), Asian parenting styles often emphasise high expectations, close supervision and clear instruction for children. As a result, parents significantly impact an individual’s career. Furthermore, according to Kutlak (2021), Generation Z views their parents as mentors.

Individuals who receive support will feel secure and have more resources than those who do not (Stringer & Kerpelman, 2010). Alliman-Brissett (2006) considered four aspects of parental support for a career: (1) career-related modelling (exposure to parental work role), (2) verbal encouragement (promoting participation in educational and career-related activities), (3) instrumental assistance (guiding educational and career decisions) and (4) emotional support (e.g. discussing the child’s goals).

Individuals who receive parental support will obtain resources for coping with job readiness, gain benefits, and develop positive interactions and settings based on SCCT (Alliman-Brissett, 2006; Bounds, 2017; Restubog et al., 2010; Sawitri et al., 2014). Individuals who have parental support naturally have more psychological capital, allowing them to modify their abilities in the face of future employment. Social career cognitive theory emphasises the significance of social influence, self-efficacy, outcome expectations and personal goals in shaping career-related behaviour. This aspect can be fulfilled through parental support for individual career readiness. As a result, psychological capital acts as a bridge between parental support and individual career readiness. Psychological capital serves as a psychological resource that can help an individual establish or ‘create’ self-confidence, thereby preparing them for a job (Figure 1).

FIGURE 1: Moderation effect of extraversion.

This study also shows that people with extraversion and conscientious traits are more likely to be well-prepared for a career. Furthermore, according to the study’s findings, individuals with emotional stability, on the other hand, do not demonstrate career readiness. Extraversion is defined as an ‘energetic approach to the social and material world’ characterised by assertiveness, activity, positive emotionality and friendliness (Witt, 2002). This is because of the idea that learning goal-oriented people may regard challenging circumstances as opportunities for personal growth, and this positive approach can serve as an experiential source of efficacy (Garcia et al., 2012). Individuals who have an extroverted personality tend to be aggressive. This promotes more mature career readiness. Extraversion oriented towards the future may aid adolescents’ decision-making as they prepare for adulthood. Compared to a less extroverted adolescent, an extroverted adolescent is more likely to develop, plan for and attain goals while persevering in the face of adversity. A positive outlook on the future may also drive behaviours that allow adolescents to attain their career objectives (Gardner Neblett & Schnabel Cortina, 2006).

Conscientious people engage in socially dictated impulse control (e.g. thinking before acting, delaying gratification, planning, prioritising, and following rules and norms), which improves task performance (Witt, 2002). Conscientious people have long-term planning, technical skills and an organised support network (McCrae & Costa, 2008). This is what builds them for their future careers. Conscientiousness is a key trait in career readiness as it demonstrates diligence, work ethic and working intentionally to complete a task effectively and efficiently (Rogers et al., 2008). This contrasts with extroverted or conscientious individuals, who tend to act in anticipation of what they may confront in the future (Figure 2).

FIGURE 2: Moderation effect of conscientiousness.

Emotional stability is a personality trait that reflects a person’s inclination to remain calm, focused, positive, resilient and confident in the face of adversity (Huo & Jiang, 2023). Individuals’ emotional stability characterises their predisposition to feel a greater or lesser degree of negative affect, while emotional competence and regulation show their ability to control their own emotional experiences (Bubić & Ivanišević, 2016). O’Brien and DeLongis (1996) discovered that those with high emotional stability prefer problem-solving coping strategies over avoidance coping strategies (i.e. stressor ignorance). Meanwhile, career readiness is related to individuals’ feelings about their future careers which they have not yet faced. As a result, they have no concept of what vocation they will pursue in the future. Indeed, research indicates that adolescent perceptions of their parents’ attitudes and actions can influence various outcomes (Tuominen & Tikkanen, 2023).

Theoretical contribution

Many firms consider new employee career readiness the key to success (Villarreal et al., 2018). Individual career readiness is heavily influenced by their surroundings, particularly parental support. This research has investigated the relationship between children’s perceptions of parental support and their views, self-efficacy and job choices. Individuals can benefit from a supportive atmosphere as it increases their positive hopes for the future (Higgins et al., 2010).

This study confirms the role of SCCT via the psychological capital mechanism and TAT via personality traits in the influence of parental support on individual career readiness. The ability of parental support to build psychological support for individual career readiness is critical and is founded on four components: hope, resilience, self-confidence and optimism. Meanwhile, varied outcomes in the influence of parental support on individual job preparedness can be seen in instances where parental support is present.

Practical contribution

When adolescents are experiencing a difficult time, parental support can be experienced in the form of unconditional acceptance, empathic listening and encouragement (Fakkel et al., 2023).

Parental support is dominant in a collectivist country. Parental support in this career promotes a person’s ability to tackle problems in his work by instilling self-confidence, optimism, perseverance and hope. Individual career development self-confidence manifests as belief in one’s ability to deal with current job uncertainties. Adolescents form mental representations of their interactions with their parents as they engage with them (Furman et al., 2002). These representations or expectations govern children’s behaviour and serve as a foundation for predicting and understanding their behaviour.


Our study has some limitations that may prompt additional research. To begin with, career readiness can be considered from several perspectives. Career readiness can be seen before and during the time they worked to better understand its impact. Firstly, this study examines career readiness before individuals enter the job market; we hope that the next research can expand the view of individuals in the job market. It is suggested that future studies can develop studies employing these various responses. Secondly, this research takes an individual perspective; future research suggests providing an organisational perspective as a variable in the study. Finally, this study draws on a sample from Indonesia, where parental participation is highly valued. Future studies may yield additional samples with varying points of view.


In conclusion, this study underscores the significant role of parental influence, personality traits, and emotional stability in shaping individual career readiness. Drawing from Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT), it elucidates how Asian parenting styles, characterized by high expectations and support, impact career development. Specifically, parental support manifests through modeling, encouragement, assistance, and emotional backing, fostering psychological capital crucial for navigating career challenges. Moreover, extraversion and conscientiousness emerge as key personality traits associated with career preparedness, attributed to their proactive approach, goal orientation, and impulse control. However, emotional stability appears less correlated with career readiness, suggesting a need for further exploration into its nuanced impact. Overall, this study provides valuable insights into the multifaceted interplay between social influence, personality dynamics, and emotional resilience in shaping individuals’ readiness for their professional journeys.


Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors’ contributions

A.G. conceptualised this research. J.S.L. and S.I. supervised this research. M.L.E. and A.D. contributed to the investigation and project administration of this research.

Funding information

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, A.G., upon reasonable request.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and are the product of professional research. It does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated institution, funder, agency, or that of the publisher. The authors are responsible for this article’s results, findings, and content.


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