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Social Class, Asian American Stereotypes, and Perceptions of Shame: An Investigation Within Career Construction Theory

Kavitha Dharmalingam Venkateswaran, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Asian Americans are widely perceived in contemporary American society as the “model minority” due to their seemingly high academic achievement, occupational status, and economic prosperity. In reality, there is a great deal of economic heterogeneity within the Asian American population, and many individuals do not fit the stereotype of high educational and career attainment. Furthermore, within Asian American culture and families, there are often values and beliefs that high economic prosperity and occupational prestige will bring honor to one’s family. Therefore, those individuals who do not believe they are living up to both the stereotypes that society holds of Asian Americans as well as the expectations that their culture and family has of them may experience feelings of shame and inadequacy. They may also struggle to develop sufficient skills to navigate career tasks and to achieve a highly developed vocational identity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between perceptions of social class, internalization of Asian American stereotypes, perceptions of interpersonal shame, career adaptability, and vocational identity utilizing structural equation modeling analyses. In addition, a mediation analysis was utilized to examine interpersonal shame as a mediating factor between perceptions of social class and both career adaptability and vocational identity, as well as between internalization of Asian American stereotypes and both career adaptability and vocational identity. Results showed adequate fit of the model as well as significant mediation results. Additionally, significant direct relationships were shown between internalization of Asian American stereotypes and interpersonal shame, perceptions of social class and interpersonal shame, perceptions of social class and career adaptability, interpersonal shame and career adaptability, and interpersonal shame and vocational identity. Overall, these results demonstrate the significant role that interpersonal shame plays within Asian American career development and implores researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to consider the heterogeneity of the Asian American population as well as the contextual barriers that may be endured when formulating career decisions. ^

Subject Area

Asian American studies|Counseling Psychology|Vocational education

Recommended Citation

Venkateswaran, Kavitha Dharmalingam, "Social Class, Asian American Stereotypes, and Perceptions of Shame: An Investigation Within Career Construction Theory" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10841259.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI10841259

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