The Career Adapt-Abilities Scale in Macau: Psychometric
characteristics and construct validity
Hsiu-Lan Shelley Tien
, Sieh-Hwa Lin
, Pei-Jung Hsieh
, Shuh-Ren Jin
National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan
National Academy for Educational Research, Taiwan
University of Macau, Macau
article info abstract
Received 1 December 2013
Available online 1 February 2014
The purposeof the study was to determine if theCAAS could be used with middle school students.
Currently no study has been done for the application of CAAS on middle school students. We
examined thereliability and validityof the Career Adapt-Ability Scale (CAAS)in Macau for middle
school and high school students. The CAAS consists of four scales, each with six items, which
measure concern, control,curiosity, and confidence. We testedthe internal consistency and factor
structure with 270 middle school students and 188 high school students. We also compared
students' performance on CAAS in terms of gender and age. The results indicated that internal
consistency estimatesfor the subscale and total scores were goodfor both high school and middle
school students. The factor structure was quite similar to the one computed for combined data
from 13 countries (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012). In addition, we found that high school students
scored significantly higher than middle school students on the CAAS scales. Based on the results,
the CAAS-Macau Form appears ready for use by researchers and practitioners who wish to
measure adaptability resources among middle school and high school students in Macau.
© 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
1.1. Cultural background in Macau
With the progression of economics, technology, and social welfare in Macau, career counselors need to provide students with
opportunities for career development. In the past, the meaning of work focused on earning a living. The main task of vocational
guidance was simply to help individuals find a job. Now the broadened meaning of career is defined as a lifelong process of
learning and work. Career counseling, instead of vocational guidance, is defined as a set of counseling services available for all
individuals across the life span. For individuals in growth and exploration stages of career development, we need to help them
prepare well for entering the world of work, establish and maintain the careers they love and pursue, and enrich the meaning of
life in their personal and professional development. Career adaptability (Savickas, 1997), instead of career maturity is an
important issue for understanding and facilitating adolescent career development.
With respect to cultural characteristics, Macau is unique in its mixture of Portuguese and Chinese cultures. You can sense the
uniqueness of this mixture from its religious beliefs, buildings, and cuisine. However, most people speak Cantonese, especially
when it was handed back to China. Individuals' development in education and career should have its new era (Tien & Jin, 2009).
The Macau gaming business liberalization policy was launched in 2003, and since then Macau society has experienced dramatic
growth. The growing economy decreases the unemployment rate in general and increases the chance for the youth to get
employed in Macau. However, some existing surveys indicated that young Macau people were not equipped with the adaptability
to navigate the vocational path in a turbulent environment. Especially, it has been pointed out that Macau youth were not
confident in their competencies in an open labor maker. They were low in awareness of career planning, vocational information
collection, decision-making skills, and ability in constructing new vocational options (Ouyang & Jin, 2012). The recently delivered
Journal of Vocational Behavior 84 (2014) 259–265
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official Macau Youth Policy (2012), targeted the age of 13–29, and declared a strong need for effective interventions in facilitating
the ability of young people to adapt to the diverse and fast-growing industry in Macau.
In the traditional Chinese cultural context, career counseling at school has often been sacrificed by over-emphases on academic
learning. It is necessary to remind counselors/social workers and policy makers witha broadened view of career counseling that students
need to be concerned with their future, curious about the world they experience, confident with what they can do, and be able to
regulate their future development. Career adaptability is actually a more important issue for them to satisfy the needs of self-realization.
1.2. Deﬁnition of career adaptability
Savickas (1997) proposed the term “career adaptability”to replace the concept of career maturity.He defined career adaptability
as a psychosocial construct that denotes an individual's resources for coping with current and anticipated developmental tasks,
occupational transitions, and work trauma, etc. Based on this notation, career adaptation is important for students in addition to
working adults. For students, they need to be aware of their ability in adapting to the future world of work. They need to be
responsible for the future choices and decisions, open to the new experiences, and be confident of their choices. To be more specific,
the meaning of career adaptability on the present study was operationally defined as concern, control, curiosity, and confidence
which could be measured by the Career Adapt-Ability Scale (CAAS). The CAAS has beentranslated, verified, and applied in a variety of
countries and cultures. In the current study, we applied the Chinese edition translated by Tien, Wang, Chu, and Huang (2012).
1.3. Purpose of the current study
The Career Adapt-Ability Scale—International Form 2.0 (CAAS-International) demonstrates excellent reliability and appropriate
cross-national measurement equivalence (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012), although its validity for use in Macau needs to be addressed by
further analysis. The present article describes the Career Adapt-Abilities Scale—Macau Form (CAAS-Macau) and reports its
psychometric properties, including item statistics and internal consistency estimates. In addition, we compare the factor structure of
the CAAS-Macau to the multi-dimensional, hierarchical measurement model of the CAAS-International. At last, we compare the
students' performance in terms of gender and grade level.
Participants included 270 middle school students and 188 high school students from two different high schools in Macau. They
volunteered to complete the CAAS-Macau. For middle school, the sample was composed of 135 boys and 135 girls. For high
school, it was composed of 77 boys and 111 girls. In Macau, middle school students are grade 7, 8, and 9 students; while high school
students are in grades 10, 11, and 12. To be specific, 28% of the participants were in 7th grade, 31 in 8th grade, and 41 in 11th
grade. Their age ranged from 13 to 19 years old (M=14.57,SD = 1.23) in middle school and from 17 to 20 years old (M= 17.88,
SD = 0.90) in senior high school. They were all registered at school when the research was conducted.
2.2.1. Career Adapt-Abilities Inventory—Macau Form (CAAS-Macau)
The CAAS-Macau was translated into Chinese by Tien et al. (2012) from the CAAS-International Form 2.0, which contains 24
items that combine to form a total score indicating career adaptability (for the items see Savickas & Porfeli, 2012). The 24 items
are divided equally into four subscales that measure the adapt-ability resources of concern, control, curiosity, and confidence. In
the international form, participants responded to each item employing a scale from 1 (not strong) to 5 (strongest).
Research fellows collected the data in middle and senior high schools during school hours. Students filled out the survey
questionnaire in groups after research fellows explained the purpose. The CAAS was entitled as Career Attitude in the
questionnaire survey. All students consented to participate in the survey for the studies. There was no penalty associated with
either not participating or not completing the survey. There was no reward for their participation, either. However, the research
fellow encouraged them to ask for career information and assistance from the school counselors and social workers.
Means and standard deviations of the four scales of the CAAS-Macau Form for both middle and high school students are shown
in Table 1. Correlation coefficients among the four scales are also indicated with Cronbach's alphas reported in parentheses. For
the middle school, the four subscales correlate from .86 to .89 to the total CAAS score. For the high school, the correlations
between the four scales and the total score are from .81 to .87. The other correlations among the four subscales, although not as
high, are all significant at pb.01 level.
260 H.-L.S. Tien et al. / Journal of Vocational Behavior 84 (2014) 259–265
3.1. Study 1: Psychometric statistics of the CAAS-Macau Form applied in middle school
The reliability estimates of the four scales of the CAAS-Macau Form for the middle school sample in the current study appear in
Table 1. The item descriptive statistics from the confirmatory factor model with middle school appear in Table 2. The item means
and standard deviations suggest that the typical response was in the range of strong to very strong. The reliability coefficients for
the subscale of concern (.84), control (.74), curiosity (.82) and confidence (.87) are all high. They are quite similar to those of the
international sample in Savickas and Porfeli's (2012) study. The reliabilities of the four scales of the CAAS-International are
concern (.83), control (.74), curiosity (.79) and confidence (.85).
Second-order confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) shows that data for CAAS-Macau fit the theoretical model very well. The fit
indices were χ
(248) = 592.15, pb.05, RMSEA = 0.072 and SRMR = 0.051 (see Fig. 1 for the structure and loadings), which
conform to established joint fit criteria (Hu & Bentler, 1999). They compare favorably to the fit indices for the CAAS-International
model which were RMSEA = 0.053 and SRMR = 0.039 (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012,Table 2, row M1b). The first-order standardized
factor loadings (see Table 2) suggest that all items are strong indicators of the four first-order factors. In addition, high loadings of
second-order factor can be theoretically represented to account for a second-order construct-adaptability.
Career Adapt-Abilities Scale: items, descriptive statistics, internal consistency reliabilities, and standardized factor loadings for middle school sample.
Construct Item MSDFirst-order factor
Concern 1. Thinking about what my future will be like 3.43 0.98 .65 .86
2. Realizing that today's choices shape my future 3.22 1.15 .70
3. Preparing for the future 3.12 1.00 .72
4. Becoming aware of the educational and career choices that I must make 3.29 1.17 .66
5. Planning how to achieve my goals 3.11 1.00 .75
6. Concerned about my career 3.76 1.03 .59
Control 7. Keeping upbeat 3.84 1.16 .51 .96
8. Making decisions by myself 3.62 1.02 .46
9. Taking responsibility for my actions 3.46 1.02 .58
10. Being persistent and patient 3.33 1.08 .62
11. Counting on myself 3.23 1.03 .60
12. Doing what's right for me 3.55 1.05 .62
Curiosity 13. Exploring my surroundings 3.36 0.99 .65 .93
14. Looking for opportunities to grow as a person 3.38 0.98 .76
15. Investigating options before making a choice 3.28 1.02 .69
16. Observing different ways of doing things 3.80 1.03 .66
17. Probing deeply into questions I have 3.43 0.98 .66
18. Becoming curious about new opportunities 3.22 1.15 .54
Confidence 19. Performing tasks efficiently 3.52 0.92 .67 .90
20. Being conscientious and doing things well 3.50 1.03 .57
21. Learning new skills 3.74 1.06 .76
22. Working up to my ability 3.54 1.10 .81
23. Overcoming obstacles 3.55 1.10 .79
24. Solving problems 3.67 1.03 .81
Note: N = 270.
Correlation matrix of the CAAS-Macau Form.
1. Concern 3.33 0.80 (.84)
2. Control 3.62 0.67 .65 (.74)
3. Curiosity 3.43 0.74 .66 .69 (.82)
4. Confidence 3.59 0.81 .66 .70 .72 (.87)
5. Total 3.49 0.66 .86 .86 .88 .89 (.94)
1. Concern 3.70 0.65 (.83)
2. Control 3.77 0.54 .61 (.70)
3. Curiosity 3.59 0.60 .63 .56 (.81)
4. Confidence 3.73 0.62 .65 .60 .57 (.86)
5. Total 3.70 0.51 .87 .81 .82 .85 (.92)
Note: Sample sizes are 270 for middle and 188 for high school. All correlations are significant at .01 level. The diagonal exhibits the reliability of the scales
261H.-L.S. Tien et al. / Journal of Vocational Behavior 84 (2014) 259–265
3.2. Study 2: Psychometric statistics of the CAAS-Macau Form applied in high school
The item descriptive statistics of the subscales for the high school sample from Macau in the current study appear in Table 3.
Reliability coefficients were listed in the parentheses of Table 1. The reliability coefficients for the subscale of concern (.83),
Fig. 1. Hierarchical confirmatory factor model for middle school students.
Career Adapt-Abilities Scale: items, descriptive statistics, internal consistency reliabilities, and standardized factor loadings for high school sample.
Construct Item MSDFirst-order factor
Concern 1. Thinking about what my future will be like 3.89 0.82 .77 .89
2. Realizing that today's choices shape my future 3.80 0.95 .62
3. Preparing for the future 3.60 0.85 .76
4. Becoming aware of the educational and career choices that I must make 3.39 1.07 .64
5. Planning how to achieve my goals 3.27 0.75 .63
6. Concerned about my career 3.73 0.94 .69
Control 7. Keeping upbeat 4.24 0.83 .40 .88
8. Making decisions by myself 3.88 0.83 .51
9. Taking responsibility for my actions 3.56 0.87 .70
10. Being persistent and patient 3.59 0.80 .62
11. Counting on myself 3.48 0.90 .43
12. Doing what's right for me 3.73 0.86 .60
Curiosity 13. Exploring my surroundings 3.63 0.77 .63 .81
14. Looking for opportunities to grow as a person 3.55 0.81 .66
15. Investigating options before making a choice 3.36 0.84 .65
16. Observing different ways of doing things 3.79 0.88 .72
17. Probing deeply into questions I have 3.89 0.82 .63
18. Becoming curious about new opportunities 3.80 0.95 .60
Confidence 19. Performing tasks efficiently 3.76 0.73 .66 .83
20. Being conscientious and doing things well 3.70 0.81 .62
21. Learning new skills 3.77 0.85 .69
22. Working up to my ability 3.53 0.90 .75
23. Overcoming obstacles 3.75 0.82 .75
24. Solving problems 3.87 0.77 .82
Note: N = 188.
262 H.-L.S. Tien et al. / Journal of Vocational Behavior 84 (2014) 259–265
control (.70), curiosity (.81) and confidence (.86) are all high enough, similar to the international sample (Savickas & Porfeli,
2012). The CAAS-Macau item means suggested that the typical response was in the range of strong to very strong.
Second-order confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) also shows that data for CAAS-Macau fit the theoretical model very well. The
fit indices were χ
(248) = 494.39, pb.05, RMSEA = 0.073 [0.063, 0.082] and SRMR = 0.060 (Fig. 2 shows the factor structure
and loadings), which conform to established joint fit criteria (Hu & Bentler, 1999). They also compare favorably to the fit indices
for the CAAS-International model which were RMSEA = 0.053 and SRMR = 0.039 (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012,Table 2, row M1b).
The first-order standardized loadings (see Table 3) suggest that all items are strong indicators of the four first-order factors.
Similar to the middle school group, high loadings of the second-order factor can be theoretically represented to account for a
3.3. Study 3: Testing the metric invariance of the CAAS-Macau Form
The prerequisite for meaningful cross-group comparison is metric invariance (Bollen, 1989), which means factor loadings
could be constrained equally in two groups. To evaluate the equivalence of measurement models across middle and senior high
school students, chi-square difference test is used for a set of nested models (Muthén & Muthén, 2010).
Multiple-group first-order and second-order CFA are employed to evaluate the measurement invariance for middle and
senior high school models. First, only the first-order factors were included in the model. The factor loadings are constrained to be
equal across groups and then estimated simultaneously by Mplus 6.1. The fit indices were χ
(512) = 1113.821, pb.05,
RMSEA = 0.072 and SRMR = 0.065. After that, equality restrictions of the factor loadings of the two groups are released. The fit
indices were χ
(492) = 1085.035, pb.05, RMSEA = 0.073 [0.067, 0.078] and SRMR = 0.055. The chi-square difference test,
(20) = 28.786, pN.05, provided supporting evidence for the first-order metric invariance for different group of students.
Second, first- and second-order factors are all included in the CAAS model. Again, the factor loadings are constrained to
be equal across groups and then estimated simultaneously. The fit indices were χ
(519) = 1120.184, pb.05, RMSEA = 0.071
and SRMR = 0.067. After that, equality restrictions of the factor loadings of the two groups are released. The fit indices were
(495) = 1086.964, pb.05, RMSEA = 0.072 and SRMR = 0.055. The chi-square difference test, Δχ
(24) = 33.22, pN.05,
provided supporting evidence for both the first-order and second-order metric invariance for different groups of students. That is,
the measurement tool could be applied to advanced analysis of young and late adolescents.
Fig. 2. Hierarchical confirmatory factor model for high school students.
263H.-L.S. Tien et al. / Journal of Vocational Behavior 84 (2014) 259–265
3.4. Study 4: Gender and age differences on CAAS-Macau Form
In addition to the psychometric characteristics of the CAAS for high school and middle school students, we also compared
student performance on the four subscales in terms of gender (male and female) and grade group (middle and high school).
Means and standard deviations for gender and grade level with regard to four CAAS scales appear in Table 4.Table 5 shows the
results of two-way multivariate analysis of variance (two-way MANOVA) with gender and grade group as two independent
variables. The results indicate statistically non-significant interactional effects between gender and grade level on the four CAAS
scales, Wilk's Λ(4,1,451) = 0.99, F(4, 451) = 1.09, p= .36, η
= 0.01. With regard to the main effect, we found a statistically
significant effect of the grade level on the four scales. Wilk's Λ(4,1,451) = 0.94, F(4, 451) = 6.063, pb.05, η
= 0.56. The mean
scores of the high school students' performance on the four scales were significantly higher than the mean scores of middle school
students. The univariate analyses Fvalues are indicated in Table 5. This result means that high school students are more
concerned about their careers, can control their career better, feel more curious about their career, and are more confident about
their career compared to middle school students. With regard to the gender difference, the univariate Fvalues show no significant
mean differences between boys and girls. It means that boys' and girls' career adaptability performance in the current study were
not significantly different from each other.
Based on the results of the statistical analyses reported herein, we concluded that CAAS-Macau performs quite similarly to the
CAAS-International in terms of psychometric characteristics and factor structure. The total scale and four subscales each
demonstrate excellent internal consistency estimates and a coherent multidimensional, hierarchical structure that fits the
theoretical model and linguistic explication of career adaptability resources. These results should support the conclusion that the
CAAS-Macau and CAAS-International function similarly.
In addition, the high inter-correlations among the four scales of the CAAS-Macau indicate that the CAAS has high internal
consistency. For students high in one of the four scales (concern, control, curiosity, and confidence), they are also high in the other
three scales. Overall, the full scale and the four subscales of the CAAS-Macau Form all displayed a high degree of internal
consistency and a coherent multidimensional and hierarchical structure that are consistent with the theoretical model. This result
is similar to the China Form conducted by Hou, Leung, Li, Li, and Xu (2012). Comparing to the CAAS-Taiwan Form (Tien et al.,
2012), the factor structure also indicates similar results. In conclusion, three studies in Chinese culture (China, Taiwan, and
Macau) showed similar results which support the application of CAAS in Chinese culture. However, subtle differences among the
three areas in student or adult career adaptability need further studies.
To further examine the descriptive statistics of the subscales, we found that Career Curiosity had the lowest score among the
four subscales. It seems that middle school and high school students in Macau are not so curious about their career compared to
their concern and confidence about career development. This seems to be reasonable because Macau is a small island and job
opportunities are narrow. The casino and gambling industry is the main job market, especially for middle and high school
graduates. For students who want to have broader exploration or who plan to develop specific interest rather than the gambling
industry, they usually apply for further education in science technology or seek for higher education opportunities in other fields
outside of Macau.
As far as the nature of career adaptability with individual clients in high school or middle school, we believed that the four
subscales are good vehicles for further discussion, especially the subscale “curiosity”. Since the job market in Macau is narrowed,
the stereotype of the world of work is gambling. Middle and high school students might not have enough chances to be curious
about the world of work (Chang, Jin, Vong, & Sze, 2009; So, Chan, & Hong, 2006). To encourage the young adolescents to learn
more about the world of work and explore their potentials, we need to create career programs and increase their worldview since
we believe that career adaptability is associated with the concept of a “protean career”(Hall, 1996). Career adaptability can also
be viewed as an individual's readiness involving the world of work (Savickas, 2011). As far as the process of career adaptability,
career adaptation could be divided into active coping and negative evasion according to Tien and Wang's (2010) suggestions.
Concern, control, curiosity, and confidence are active in nature. Lack of these four characteristics might become negative evasion.
Means and standard deviations for middle and high school boys and girls on CAAS.
Concern Control Curiosity Confidence
n M SD M SD M SD M SD
Boys 135 3.33 0.85 3.62 0.69 3.48 0.74 3.61 0.80
Girls 135 3.34 0.75 3.61 0.65 3.39 0.75 3.57 0.83
Total 270 3.34 0.80 3.62 0.67 3.44 0.74 3.59 0.81
Boys 77 3.61 0.76 3.78 0.62 3.57 0.69 3.78 0.74
Girls 111 3.76 0.56 3.77 0.48 3.60 0.54 3.70 0.54
Total 188 3.70 0.65 3.77 0.54 3.59 0.61 3.73 0.62
264 H.-L.S. Tien et al. / Journal of Vocational Behavior 84 (2014) 259–265
For young adolescents in school, the focus of life might be academic work. They do not have motivation to concern about their
future career. Therefore, it is important to further examine the micro-content of students' career adaptability. Influencers and
consequences for career adaptability need to be further examined.
In conclusion, the results of the present study indicated that CAAS-Macau appears ready for use by researchers and practitioners
who wish to measure adaptability resources among adolescents, specifically for middle school students. It is the major contribution of
the currentstudy. No study has donethis yet. Further research will examine its validity for use with college students and employees in
Macau or Chinese societies. We can also interview master workers or employers in specific professional fields to examine their
adaptation process. Qualitative analysis can also be helpful for us to know more about the nature of career adaptability. Given the
success of CAAS-International application in Macau adolescents, the next step would be further examination of the adults' career
adaptation and those adults who anticipate career transitions.
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Multivariate and univariate analysis of variance for CAAS.
Multivariate Concern Control Curiosity Confidence
Gender (S) 1.55 .19 .014 1.13 .27 .003 0.03 .86 .000 .24 .63 .001 0.71 .40 .002
Group (G) 6.63 .00 .056 23.92 .00 .050 7.12 .01 .015 5.32 .02 .012 4.28 .04 .009
S × G 1.09 .36 .010 1.08 .30 .002 0.00 .97 .000 1.01 .32 .002 0.09 .77 .000
Note: Multivariate Fratios were generated from Wilks' Lambda.
Multivariate df = 4451.
Univariate df = 1454.
265H.-L.S. Tien et al. / Journal of Vocational Behavior 84 (2014) 259–265