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Peers in careers

Peer relationships in the transition from school to work
PhD ceremony:Ms B. (Britta) Rüschoff
When:June 04, 2015
Supervisors:prof. dr. D.R. (René) Veenstra, prof. dr. S.M. Lindenberg
Co-supervisor:dr. J.K. (Jan Kornelis) Dijkstra
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Peers in careers

This book takes a relational approach to career development and addresses the question how peer relationships affect young people’s transition from school to work. The insights of this book support the notion that social relationships affect young people’s early career trajectories and that this also holds for relationships with peers.

The results show that young people’s goals and relationship experiences with peers are associated with their work values and thereby their subsequent preferences for certain vocational contexts over others. It has further been shown that peers can stimulate the active engagement in career-directed activities. Being embedded in a network of efficacious peers (i.e., peers who hold positive beliefs about their own capabilities of finding employment) proved to be beneficial even beyond the school context as it increased young people’s chances of having successfully completed the transition from school to work or follow-up education three years later. Results further show that the approaching onset of employment can act as a turning point in how young people evaluate their peers’ aggressive and norm-breaking behavior and in how such behaviors are rewarded with a high status position in the peer group. However, the timing of employment appears to be important in young people’s engagement in delinquent behavior, as employment in early adolescence was associated with higher rather than lower engagement in delinquent behavior.

Mentors and practitioners working with young people in the transition to work may benefit from these insights and more explicitly draw on the peer context when providing guidance and counseling.