22 SES 10 A, Paper Session
Vocational interests are considered to be significant predictors of vocational choices and outcomes. Holland (1997) proposes a taxonomy of six broad vocational interest types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. Both, individuals and environments can be categorized in terms of these types, leading to interest profile for individuals and profiles for the characterizations of work environments.
According to Holland (1997) the person-environment fit (i.e., congruence, calculated as concordance of both profiles) is positively related to satisfaction, performance, and persistence. Furthermore, consistent and differentiated interests and having a distinct vocational identity are proposed to be advantageous (Holland, 1997). All of these variables are assumed to be positively related to each other and to predict the quality of career outcomes.
Vocational choice can be considered as a long-term process, which represents one of the biggest challenges for adolescents. The early stages (e.g., forming vocational aspirations, choices of school type or study field) of this process are thereby of crucial importance as they are important predictors for subsequent careers.
In some studies, however, vocational interests correlated strongly with further individual characteristics, e.g., personality traits, academic performance (i.e. Ackerman & Heggestad, 1997). These findings raise the question, whether further individual characteristics moderate the relationship between a person’s interest and environmental characteristics. Unfortunately, only very few controlled for the influence of these variables (i.e. Volodina, Nagy & Köller, 2015). Moreover, there is a lack of studies, which investigate career processes from a long-term perspective.
Following the assumptions derived from theory and recent research, predicting the congruence between individual interests and study majors is the main aim of the study.
Measuring various predictors before the transition from high school to university, the following three questions will be answered using a longitudinal approach:
- Are consistency, differentiation, and vocational identity valid predictors of interest-major congruence?
- Is interest-aspiration congruence a valid predictor of interest-major congruence?
- Will the results above change if alternative explanations (personality traits and cognitive abilities) are controlled for?
Methodology The sample consists of 584 high school students, who graduated soon after the first measurement point. At the second measurement point (two to four years later) they were university students in a wide variety of majors. The following variables were recorded: - Vocational interests: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional orientations assessed by the AIST-R (Bergmann & Eder, 2005). - Consistency and differentiation: calculated according to Tracy, Wille, Durr and De Fruyt (2014). - Vocational identity: measured by the scale from Bergmann (2008). - Interest-aspiration congruence and interest-major congruence: calculated as C-Index according to Brown and Gore (1994) (aspirations and choices were coded as 3-letter-profiles). - Personality traits: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness assessed by the NEO-FFI (Borkenau & Ostendorf, 1993). - Cognitive abilities: Verbal, numeric and figural abilities by the KFT-R (Heller & Perleth, 2000). Linear Regression with nested models was conducted in order to identify variables able to explain variance in interest-major congruence (dependent variable for all models). Independent variables were included in three steps: - Model 1: Consistency, differentiation, vocational identity - Model 2: Model 1 + interest-aspiration congruence - Model 3: Model 2 + personality traits and cognitive abilities
Results Model 1 shows that consistency and vocational identity significantly predict interest-major congruence with a total R2= .09. Their influence remains similar in Model 2. However, interest-aspiration congruence shows a significantly higher relation to interest-major congruence, resulting in a total R2= .30. Model 3 shows that the results of Model 2 are robust for including personality traits and cognitive abilities. Only Openness turns out to be an additional significant predictor. Model 3 yields a total R2= .31. For all three models, differentiation was a non-significant predictor. Discussion In line with Holland’s theory and recent research, interest-major congruence could be predicted by consistency, vocational identity, and interest-aspiration congruence. All relationships were positive, meaning that for example individuals with higher interest-aspiration congruence (before graduation from high school) showed higher interest-major congruence (during their studies). However, interest-aspiration congruence was by far the best predictor for interest-major congruence. Contrary to expectations, the differentiation of interests was not significant as predictor of interest-major congruence. Of the personality traits and abilities, only openness showed a significant (negative) relation to interest-major congruence. It seems that openness to experiences and curiosity is more a hindrance for congruence. Theoretical and educational significance In order to support individuals to choose interest-congruent careers it is important to understand which factors are related to early choices and transitions in vocational contexts. The results speak for school and career counseling programs which focus on exploring vocational aspirations and establishing person-aspiration fit. They, however, show that not all measurements are useful in that context, especially the differentiation of interests which, contrary to expectations, was not related to interest-major congruence.
References Ackerman, P., & Heggestad, E. (1997). Intelligence, personality, and interests: evidence for overlapping traits. Psychological Bulletin, 121(2), 219-245. Bergmann, C. (2008). Beratungsorientierte Diagnostik zur Unterstützung der Studienentscheidung studierwilliger Maturanten. In H. Schuler & B. Hell (Hrsg.), Studierendenauswahl und Studienentscheidung(S. 67-77). Göttingen: Hogrefe. Bergmann, C., & Eder, F. (2005). Allgemeiner Interessen-Struktur-Test (AIST-R) mit Umwelt-Struktur-Test (UST-R) — Revision. Manual(3. Aufl.). Göttingen: Beltz-Test. Borkenau, P., & Ostendorf, F. (1993). NEO-Fünf-Faktoren Inventar (NEO-FFI) nach Costa u. McCrae. Göttingen: Hogrefe. Brown, S., & Gore, P. (1994). An Evaluation of Interest Congruence Indices: Distribution Characteristics and Measurement Properties. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45(3), 310-327. Heller, K., & Perleth, C. (2000). Kognitiver Fähigkeitstest für 4. bis 12. Klassen, Revision KFT 4 - 12 + R(3. Aufl.). Göttingen: Beltz-Test. Holland, J. (1997). Making vocational choices. A theory of vocational personalities and work environments(3rd ed.). Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources. Tracey, T., Wille, B., Durr II, M., & De Fruyt, F. (2014). An enhanced examination of Holland's consistency and differentiation hypotheses. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 84(3), 237-247. Volodina, A., Nagy, G., & Köller, O. (2015). Success in the first phase of the vocational career: The role of cognitive and scholastic abilities, personality factors, and vocational interests. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 91, 11-22.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.