Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Counseling Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 75 pages) : PDF file illustrations, forms

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Susan Phillips

Committee Members

LaRae Jome, Matthew Martens


attachment theory, social support, vocational maturity, Attachment behavior, Employability, Social acceptance

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Psychology


Much research has been conducted to underscore the positive influence of a secure attachment style on numerous adaptive behaviors and the potential negative impact of insecure attachment. Previous research has shown a positive relationship between secure attachment and some elements of adaptive career behavior. However, thus far, the relationship between attachment and all dimensions of vocational maturity set forth by Super (1977) have not been studied. The first goal of the present study was to examine whether or not a significant relationship exists between attachment and all dimensions of vocational maturity. A sample of college students (n = 140) was used. Results revealed that secure attachment was significantly related to all dimensions of vocational maturity. A second goal of this study was to evaluate the common conclusion in the attachment literature that individuals not securely attached from their early life experiences may be destined for more difficulties in multiple domains of their lives. It was proposed that there may be opportunities beyond early life experiences that may abate the adverse role of insecure attachment in career development. This investigation questioned to what extent subsequent social support might counteract the predicted career outcomes of early insecure attachment by testing to see if social support played a moderating role in the relationship between secure attachment and vocational maturity. Results supported a moderating role of social support, such that when social support was high, the impact of attachment on career maturity was found to not be as great as when social support was low. Thus, since secure attachment was more influential on vocational maturity when social support was low, it was concluded that social support may act as a protective factor against the previously established negative implications of insecure attachment.