Career indecision, anxiety, and social problem-solving

Carolyn Amy Eckhaus Gribben, Fordham University


The career indecision literature has generally lacked an organizing, theoretical framework. Both state and trait anxiety have been correlated with career indecision, and theorists have suggested that anxiety may be an antecedent to chronic career indecision. This study tested a causal model of career indecision based upon D'Zurilla's (1986) social problem-solving theory, and transactional/problem-solving model of stress. The research questions examined whether the social problem-solving process, including problem orientation and problem-solving skills variables, mediated the relationship between anxiety and career indecision. Measures of trait anxiety, state anxiety, problem orientation, problem-solving skills, and career indecision were administered to 120 traditional-age community college students from a multiethnic, urban, commuter community college. Demographic information and an item concerning the importance of career decision making were also obtained. The results indicated that both state anxiety and problem orientation individually mediated the relationship between trait anxiety and career indecision. However, the results did not support the inclusion of the problem-solving skills variable as mediating the relationship between trait anxiety and career indecision. The implication of these results is that inclusion of problem orientation variables in models of career indecision may increase our understanding of the nature and antecedents of career indecision. Suggestions for future research and implications for counseling are also discussed.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Eckhaus Gribben, Carolyn Amy, "Career indecision, anxiety, and social problem-solving" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136320.