Get access

Differentiation Levels of College Students: Effects on Vocational Identity and Career Decision Making


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Patrick Johnson, Department of Counselor Education, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207-0751 (e-mail:


This study assessed the effects of differentiation levels on the career development of college students. Participants were 231 college students who completed the Differentiation of Self Inventory (Skowron & Friedlander, 1998), My Vocational Situation (Holland, Daiger, & Power, 1980), the Career Decision Profile (CDP; Jones & Lohmann, 1998), and demographic questions. The results supported the hypotheses that higher levels of the various components of differentiation would predict higher levels of vocational identity and fewer difficulties with career decision making. In particular, lower levels of emotional cutoff and emotional reactivity and higher levels of “I position” predicted higher levels of vocational identity and career decision making. Results suggest a more complicated picture for fusion, with higher levels being predictive of lower levels of decisiveness but not significantly related to vocational identity. Implications of the results for career counselors are provided.