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Parents contribute a great deal to their children’s career development. Despite the central importance of the self-concept to career development, little research has examined the role played by parental engagement in the link between the child’s self-concept and career development. Integrating self-verification and career construction theories, we develop and test the prediction that parental engagement indirectly contributes to career adaptability and career persistence by serving as a tacit signal of the child’s positive worth. Using a time-lagged survey design, we tested the proposed moderated mediation model in a sample of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) university students. The results show full support for the hypothesized model. Consistent with self-verification theory, STEM students’ self-esteem was only associated with subsequent career adaptability and career persistence if they also perceived high levels of parental engagement. This result held despite statistically controlling for parent-reported parental engagement. We discuss implications for career development, STEM career persistence, and career counseling.

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Journal Article

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