The meditational role of career adaptability: pathways from contextual factors to positive youth development in China
The present study investigated the mediating role of career adaptability in the relationship between contextual factors (i.e., quality learning experience and social connection) and positive youth development (i.e., decision-making readiness and stress management), using data from a sample of 1047 Chinese students from 10th to 12th grades. First, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) revealed that an expanded self- regulatory model with four dimensions (i.e., career search self-efficacy, goal capacity, academic self-efficacy, motivation for attending school) mapped onto one latent construct representing the overall level of career adaptability. Subsequently, using a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach of mediation analysis, this study found that this latent construct of career adaptability fully mediated the relationship between contextual factors and positive youth development. In addition, a test of the four mediating variables revealed eight specific significant indirect pathways from the contextual influences to positive youth development: career search self-efficacy and goal capacity fully mediated the relationship between quality learning experience and decision-making readiness as well as the relationship between social connection and decision-making readiness. Academic self-efficacy and motivation partially mediated the relationship between social connection and stress management as well as fully mediated the relationship between quality learning experiences and stress management. The findings establish notable implications for practices that are discussed in closing.