Career Thoughts Inventory

The Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI) is a theory-based assessment and intervention resource intended to improve thinking in career problem solving and decision making. The CTI measures dysfunctional career thoughts that may inhibit the ability to effectively engage in career decision making. The 48-item inventory is self-administered and objectively scored. The assessment is designed to be used by 11th- and 12th-grade high school students, college students, and adults who are choosing an occupation, choosing a major or field of study, seeking employment, or making an employment change.

The CTI is based on cognitive information processing theory, which states that effective career decision making requires effective processing of information in the four domains of self-knowledge, occupational knowledge, decision-making skills, and executive processing. The CTI draws on concepts from cognitive therapy specifying that dysfunctional cognitions have a negative impact on behavior and emotions. The CTI can be used to identify negative career thoughts that impede the effective processing of information necessary for career problem solving and decision making. The CTI Workbook, which accompanies the CTI, comprises cognitive restructuring activities similar to those used in cognitive therapy for depression and anxiety.

Items on the CTI are scored on a Likert scale with responses ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The total CTI score reflects the extent to which individuals engage in thinking that may inhibit effective career problem solving and decision making. Higher scores are indicative of the presence of dysfunctional thoughts that may impede the processing of information necessary to confidently make an informed career choice. Lower scores reflect few dysfunctional career thoughts that negatively impact the career decision-making process and suggest overall readiness to engage in career decision making. Information on the standardization, potential for bias, readability, reliability, validity, and utility of the CTI is presented in the professional manual.

Three construct scales underlie the CTI: Decision Making Confusion, Commitment Anxiety, and External Conflict. Construct scale scores of the CTI enable practitioners to identify specific blocks that impede the processing of information. Mental health concerns such as depression and/or anxiety may also exist when high scores are reflected in Decision Making Confusion and Commitment Anxiety. Similarly, high scores on the External Conflict scale may suggest family issues that would be beneficial to address. Individual items on the CTI may also be used as a stimulus for the client to verbalize internal and external barriers to decision making.

The CTI can be quickly administered and scored, easily interpreted, and readily integrated into a variety of counseling modalities. As such, it provides a cost-effective measure for use in career services in a variety of settings. The CTI has multiple uses and can be used as a screening tool, for needs assessment, and as a learning resource. The use of a limited number of scales on the CTI simplifies interpretation and enhances its usefulness in practice. When used in combination with the CTI Workbook, practitioners have access to interpretive information about the scales and materials for test interpretation. All of these contribute to easier integration into existing programs and services.

References:

  1. Sampson, J. P., Jr., Peterson, G. W., Lenz, J. G., Reardon, R. C., & Saunders, D. E. (1996). Career Thoughts Inventory. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
  2. Sampson, J. P., Jr., Peterson, G. W., Lenz, J. G., Reardon, R. C., & Saunders, D. E. (1996). Career Thoughts Inventory workbook. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
  3. Sampson, J. P., Jr., Peterson, G. W., Lenz, J. G., Reardon, R. C., & Saunders, D. E. (1996). Career Thoughts Inventory: Professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
  4. Sampson, J. P., Jr., Peterson, G. W., Lenz, J. G., Reardon, R. C., & Saunders, D. E. (1998). The design and use of a measure of dysfunctional career thoughts among adults, college students, and high school students: The Career Thoughts Inventory. Journal of Career Assessment, 6, 115-134.
  5. Sampson, J. P., Jr., Peterson, G. W., Reardon, R. C., & Lenz, J. G. (2004). Career counseling and services: A cognitive information processing approach. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

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