Research in Higher Education

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 279–292 | Cite as

Holland environments as reinforcement systems

  • John C. Smart


Holland's (1973, 1985) theory of vocational choice stipulates that model environments seek toreinforce the characteristic predispositions and attitudes of their corresponding personality types. The results of this longitudinal study of the self-perceptions of more than 2,000 graduates from eight types of colleges and universities (Carnegie Commission, 1971) generally support the validity of this premise. For example, graduates prepared in investigative environments have higher intellectual self-esteem scores and those prepared in artistic environments have higher artistic self-esteem scores, when pre- and postcollege measures are controlled. These general patterns are consistent for graduates from the eight institutional types. The implications of these findings are discussed for those who study the intra- and interinstitutional diversity of colleges and universities and their differential impact on student developmental patterns.


Longitudinal Study Reinforcement System General Pattern Education Research Model Environment 
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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Smart
    • 1
  1. 1.College of EducationVirginia Polytechnic Institute & State UniversityUSA

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