Identity exploration during the transition to motherhood: facilitating factors and outcomes

Michal Gross Spector, Rachel Gali Cinamon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to expand our understanding about the way women shape their career decisions during their transition to motherhood, through the exploration process, its facilitating factors and outcomes. Design/methodology/approach: A longitudinal, quantitative method was used to investigate the vocational and maternal exploration processes. Workplace, spousal and family support served as facilitating factors, and vocational decisions and well-being as outcomes. Participants were 326 Israeli women during their transition to motherhood. Findings: SEM analysis revealed a good model fit to the data. Workplace support had a positive effect on maternal exploration. Increased maternal exploration was positively associated with keeping working patterns before motherhood, and negatively associated with well-being. Research limitations/implications: The sample of the current study was limited to highly educated Israeli working women. Practical implications: The results of the current study can serve career counselors policymakers and organizations in their efforts to encourage first-time mothers to retain their paid work patterns by supporting maternal exploration through creating family-friendly policies. Originality/value: The current findings have demonstrated that social support factors contribute to the enhancement of the exploration process also in later developmental stages. Furthermore, these findings showed differential effects of managerial support on maternal exploration and vocational exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-843
Number of pages15
JournalCareer Development International
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017


  • Maternal exploration
  • Transition to motherhood
  • Vocational exploration
  • Work-family integration


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