Understanding the trait basis of career adaptability: A two-wave mediation analysis among Chinese university students

Yanjun Guan, Xiang Dai, Qing Gong, Yufan Deng, Yuansi Hou, Zhilin Dong, Luhua Wang, Zheng Huang, Xin Lai

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the mechanisms through which the basic traits (big-five personality and approach/avoidance traits) predict career adaptability, and develop a more systematic view of the components of career adaptivity, we conducted a two-wave survey study among 206 Chinese university students. Drawing on career construction theory and the distal-proximal framework of motivation, we incorporated core self-evaluation (CSE), proactive personality and learning goal orientation (LGO) as the key mediators and tested their relations with basic traits and career adaptability. It was found that these dispositional predictors (measured at Time 1) account for 43% (adjusted R2) of the variance in career adaptability (measured at Time 2). In addition, CSE mediates the effects of conscientiousness, neuroticism, approach and avoidance traits on career adaptability; LGO and proactive personality mediate the effects of openness to experience, conscientiousness as well as approach trait on career adaptability. When the three mediators (CSE, LGO and proactive personality) are put into the model, only extraversion has a remaining direct effect on career adaptability. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-42
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Approach/avoidance traits
  • Big-five personality
  • Career adaptability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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