Date of Conferral







Jana Price-Sharps


Successful formation of a self-chosen, purposeful identity in personal, social, educational and vocational areas is a primary task for emerging adults, with failure to do so often resulting in cycles of substance use, unemployment, and delinquent/criminal behavior. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine relationships between vocational identity, substance use, and criminal thinking within the population of emerging adults. The expectancy value theory of motivation, which states that identity may be a motivational construct between self-efficacy and subjective self-values, provided the foundation for the study. The online inventory platform PsychData was used to garner data from a sample of 78 emerging adults measuring vocational identity (using the Vocational Identity Status Assessment [VISA]), substance use (using the CAGE-AID questionnaire), and criminal thinking (using the General Criminal Thinking-GCT scale of the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles). A bivariate correlational analysis using SPSS allowed for comparison of the 6 vocational identity statuses of Achieved, Searching Moratorium, Moratorium, Foreclosed, Diffused, and Undifferentiated, against the CAGE-AID scores and the GCT scores for possible relationships. The study did not result in significant correlations between variables; however, poststudy analysis revealed that the Diffused level of vocational identity, which is generally associated with the most negative life patterns, was strongly reflected in the responses of 25-year-old participants. Further research on the significance of vocational identity among older emerging adults may serve both the individual and society through encouraging successful transition to stable and healthy adult roles.