Development of future extension in adolescents: A construct validity study

Joan M. Lezar Engel, Fordham University


The present study explored development of future time extension during adolescence. Future time extension was defined as the length of time projected from the subject's current age to a future event. Future extension was expected to lengthen with age during adolescence. Cognitive and ego development occurring during adolescence, cultural/environmental press to consider the future, and the vocational choice task were expected to influence development of future extension. The following questions were of interest: (1) Does future extension increase with age? (2) Is future extension correlated with cognitive development? (3) Is future extension correlated with career development? The measures were: Future Thinking, Self-Generated Future Events, and Experimenter-Generated Future Events, the CDA scale from the Career Development Inventory, and formal operational thought Flexible Rods and Chemicals Combinations tasks. Subjects made age estimates for future career events in the Future Extension measures. The Experimenter-Generated measure listed future career events for subjects, and the Self-Generated measure asked subjects to choose their future career events. Subjects were 75 eighth graders from Westchester, New York parochial schools (average age 13.5) and college seniors from Fordham University, (21.4 years). The sample was mostly Caucasian and Catholic and Class IV (Hollingshead, 1975). Significant main effects on Future Thinking and Self-Generated measures found males showed higher Future Extension. Older students showed significantly higher future extension on Future Thinking and Self-Generated measures. The CDA and formal operational thought were generally not related to Future Extension measures. Significant and positive intercorrelations among Future Extension measures were found in the college sample. The Experimenter-Generated measure elicited agreement from both groups as to appropriate age for future career events. Specifying domain appeared to improve Future Extension measurement.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Engel, Joan M. Lezar, "Development of future extension in adolescents: A construct validity study" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8910755.