Advertisement

Vocational Interests: Revisiting Assumptions About Their Development and What They Predict

  • Kevin A. Hoff
  • Jessamyn G. Perlus
  • James Rounds
Chapter
  • 182 Downloads

Abstract

Vocational interest assessments are a unique tool in that they are used to predict outcomes far into the future. The use of interest assessments for predictive purposes is supported by decades of research showing that vocational interests are highly stable over time and predict several important career and academic outcomes. Yet new research findings have led to a better understanding of why interests are important and how they develop and change with age. In this chapter, we review recent research on the development and predictive validity of interests with a focus on career guidance implications. The chapter is organised into two parts. The first part reviews research on the development of vocational interests. The second part reviews research on the predictive validity of interests for a variety of career and academic outcomes. A major conclusion is that interests are surprisingly strong predictors of performance-related outcomes (e.g., job performance and career success), but are not as consistently associated with satisfaction-based outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction) as popular literature would suggest. The chapter concludes by reviewing theoretical and practical implications aimed at better understanding the interest development process and the outcomes associated with interest fit.

Keywords

Interest development Mean-level change Interest fit Job performance Career success 

References

  1. Ackerman, P. L. (1996). A theory of adult intellectual development: Process, personality, interests, and knowledge. Intelligence, 22(2), 227–257.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0160-2896(96)90016-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ackerman, P. L., & Heggestad, E. D. (1997). Intelligence, personality, and interests: Evidence for overlapping traits. Psychological Bulletin, 121(2), 219–245.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.121.2.219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. American College Testing Program. (2009). The ACT interest inventory technical manual. Retrieved from http://www.act.org/research/researchers/techmanuals.html
  4. Armstrong, P. I., & Vogel, D. L. (2009). Interpreting the interest–efficacy association from a RIASEC perspective. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(3), 392–407.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Assouline, M., & Meir, E. I. (1987). Meta-analysis of the relationship between congruence and well-being measures. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 31(3), 319–332.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-8791(87)90046-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baltes, P. B., Staudinger, U. M., & Lindenberger, U. (1999). Lifespan psychology: Theory and application to intellectual functioning. Annual Review of Psychology, 50(1), 471–507.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.50.1.471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bong, M., Lee, S. K., & Woo, Y. K. (2015). The roles of interest and self-efficacy in the decision to pursue mathematics and science. Interest in Mathematics and Science Learning (pp. 33–48).  https://doi.org/10.3102/978-0-935302-42-4_2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clausen, J. A., Gilens, M. (1990, December). Personality and labor force participation across the life course: A longitudinal study of women’s careers. Sociological Forum, 5(4), 595–618). Springer Netherlands.Google Scholar
  9. Dawis, R. V., & Lofquist, L. H. (1984). A psychological theory of work adjustment: An individual-differences model and its applications. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  10. Denissen, J. J., van Aken, M. A., Penke, L., & Wood, D. (2013). Self-regulation underlies temperament and personality: An integrative developmental framework. Child Development Perspectives, 7(4), 255–260.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dolliver, R. H., & Nelson, R. E. (1975). Assumptions regarding vocational counseling. Vocational Guidance Quarterly, 24(1), 12–19.  https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2164-585X.1975.tb02227.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Donnay, D., Morris, M., Schaubhut, N., & Thompson, R. (2005). Strong interest inventory manual: Research, development and strategies for interpretation. Mountain View: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dotterer, A. M., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2009). The development and correlates of academic interests from childhood through adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(2), 509–519.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eccles, J. S., Midgley, C., Wigfield, A., Buchanan, C. M., Reuman, D., Flanagan, C., & Mac Iver, D. (1993). Development during adolescence: The impact of stage-environment fit on young adolescents’ experiences in schools and in families. American Psychologist, 48(2), 90–101.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.48.2.90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frenzel, A. C., Pekrun, R., Dicke, A. L., & Goetz, T. (2012). Beyond quantitative decline: Conceptual shifts in adolescents’ development of interest in mathematics. Developmental Psychology, 48(4), 1069–1082.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gottfredson, L. S. (1981). Circumscription and compromise: A developmental theory of occupational aspirations. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 28(6), 545–579.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.28.6.545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gottfredson, L. S. (2005). Using Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription and compromise in career guidance and counseling. In S. D. Brown & R. W. Lent (Eds.), Career development and counseling: Putting theory and research to work (pp. 71–100). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Graziano, W. G., Habashi, M. M., & Woodcock, A. (2011). Exploring and measuring differences in person–thing orientations. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(1), 28–33.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heslin, P. A. (2005). Conceptualizing and evaluating career success. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(2), 113–136.  https://doi.org/10.1002/job.270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. A. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111–127.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15326985ep4102_4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoff, K. A., Briley, D. A., Wee, C. J. M., & Rounds, J. (2018). Normative changes in interests from adolescence to adulthood: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Psychological Bulletin, 144(4), 426–451.  https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hogan, R., & Roberts, B. W. (2004). A socioanalytic model of maturity. Journal of Career Assessment, 12(2), 207–217.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1069072703255882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Holland, J. L. (1959). A theory of vocational choice. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 6(1), 35–45.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0040767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd ed.). Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  25. Huang, J. L., & Pearce, M. (2013). The other side of the coin: Vocational interests, interest differentiation and annual income at the occupation level of analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(3), 315–326.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2013.06.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Judge, T. A., & Zapata, C. P. (2015). The person-situation debate revisited: Effect of situation strength and trait activation on the validity of the big five personality traits in predicting job performance. Academy of Management Journal, 58(4), 1149–1179.  https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2010.0837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Judge, T. A., Higgins, C. A., Thoresen, C. J., & Barrick, M. R. (1999). The big five personality traits, general mental ability, and career success across the life span. Personnel Psychology, 52(3), 621–652.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1999.tb00174.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Karabenick, S. A., & Urdan, T. (2014). Motivational interventions (Advances in motivation and achievement) (Vol. 18). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. King, D. D., Ott-Holland, C. J., Ryan, A. M., Huang, J. L., Wadlington, P. L., & Elizondo, F. (2016). Personality homogeneity in organizations and occupations: Considering similarity sources. Journal of Business and Psychology, 1–13.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-016-9459-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kristof-Brown, A. L., Zimmerman, R. D., & Johnson, E. C. (2005). Consequences of individuals’ fit at work: A meta-analysis of person-job, person-organization, person-group, and person-supervisor fit. Personnel Psychology, 58(2), 281–342.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2005.00672.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Hackett, G. (1994). Toward a unifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice, and performance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45(1), 79–122.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jvbe.1994.1027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lippa, R. (1998). Gender-related individual differences and the structure of vocational interests: The importance of the people–things dimension. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(4), 996–1009.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.74.4.996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lippa, R. A. (2010). Sex differences in personality traits and gender-related occupational preferences across 53 nations: Testing evolutionary and social-environmental theories. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(3), 619–636.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-008-9380-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Locke, E. A. (1969). What is job satisfaction? Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 4(4), 309–336.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0030-5073(69)90013-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Locke, E. A. (1973). Satisfiers and dissatisfiers among white-collar and blue-collar employees. Journal of Applied Psychology, 58(1), 67–76.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0035418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Low, K. S. D., Yoon, M., Roberts, B. W., & Rounds, J. (2005). The stability of vocational interests from early adolescence to middle adulthood: A quantitative review of longitudinal studies. Psychological Bulletin, 131(5), 713–737.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.131.5.713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lüdtke, O., Roberts, B. W., Trautwein, U., & Nagy, G. (2011). A random walk down university avenue: Life paths, life events, and personality trait change at the transition to university life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(3), 620–637.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023743.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McCloy, R., Waugh, G., Medsker, G., Wall, J., Rivkin, D., & Lewis, P. (1999). Development of the O* NET computerized work importance profiler. Raleigh. https://www.onetcenter.org/dl_files/DevCWIP.pdf
  39. Morris, M. L. (2016). Vocational interests in the United States: Sex, age, ethnicity, and year effects. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(5), 604–615.  https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Neumann, G., Olitsky, N., & Robbins, S. (2009). Job congruence, academic achievement, and earnings. Labour Economics, 16(5), 503–509.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2009.03.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nye, C. D., & Roberts, B. W. (2013). A developmental perspective on the importance of personality for understanding workplace behavior. In N. D. Christiansen & R. P. Tett (Eds.), Handbook of personality at work (pp. 796–818). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Nye, C. D., Su, R., Rounds, J., & Drasgow, F. (2012). Vocational interests and performance: A quantitative summary of over 60 years of research. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(4), 384–403.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691612449021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nye, C. D., Su, R., Rounds, J., & Drasgow, F. (2017). Interest congruence and performance: Revisiting recent meta-analytic findings. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 98, 138–151.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2016.11.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Perlus, J. G., Hoff, K. A., Rounds, J., Nye, C., & Elizonado, F. (2016, May). Homogeneity of interests within occupations. Poster at the 28th annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  45. Peterson, N. G., Mumford, M. D., Borman, W. C., Jeanneret, P., & Fleishman, E. A. (Eds.). (1999). An occupational information system for the 21st century: The development of O*NET. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.  https://doi.org/10.1037/10313-000.Google Scholar
  46. Phan, W. M. J., Amrhein, R., Rounds, J., & Lewis, P. (2019). Contextualizing interest scales with emojis: Implications for measurement and validity. Journal of Career Assessment, 27(1), 114–133.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1069072717748647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Prediger, D. J. (1982). Dimensions underlying Holland’s hexagon: Missing link between interests and occupations? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 21(3), 259–287.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-8791(82)90036-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Reardon, R. C., & Lenz, J. G. (2015). Handbook for using the self-directed search: Integrating RIASEC and CIP theories in practice. Lutz: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  49. Renninger, K. A., & Hidi, S. (2016). The power of interest for motivation and learning. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  50. Roberts, B. W., & DelVecchio, W. F. (2000). The rank-order consistency of personality traits from childhood to old age: A quantitative review of longitudinal studies. Psychological Bulletin, 126(1), 3–25.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.126.1.3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Roberts, B. W., & Mroczek, D. (2008). Personality trait change in adulthood. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(1), 31–35.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00543.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Roberts, B. W., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2003). Work experiences and personality development in young adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(3), 582–593.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.84.3.582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Roberts, B. W., Walton, K. E., & Viechtbauer, W. (2006). Patterns of mean-level change in personality traits across the life course: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Psychological Bulletin, 132(1), 1–25.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.132.1.1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rounds, J., & Su, R. (2014). The nature and power of interests. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(2), 98–103.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721414522812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rounds, J., Su, R., Lewis, P., & Rivkin, D. (2010). O*NET® interest profiler short form psychometric characteristics: Summary. Raleigh: National Center for O*NET Development.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721414522812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124(2), 262–274.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.124.2.262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schneider, B. (1987). The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40(3), 437–453.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1987.tb00609.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Schneider, B., Smith, D. B., Taylor, S., & Fleenor, J. (1998). Personality and organizations: A test of the homogeneity of personality hypothesis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(3), 462–470.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.83.3.462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Song, C. Q., Wee, C. J., Earl, K., & Rounds, J. (2016, April). Revisiting interest congruence and job satisfaction: Fourth time’s the charm. In C. D. Nye (Chair), Advancing the validity of vocational interests in the workplace. Paper presented at the 31st annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Anaheim, CA.Google Scholar
  60. Soto, C. J., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2011). Age differences in personality traits from 10 to 65: Big Five domains and facets in a large cross-sectional sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(2), 330–348.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Specht, J., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S. C. (2011). Stability and change of personality across the life course: The impact of age and major life events on mean-level and rank-order stability of the Big Five. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(4), 862–882.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Stoll, G., Rieger, S., Lüdtke, O., Nagengast, B., Trautwein, U., & Roberts, B. W. (2016). Vocational interests assessed at the end of high school predict life outcomes assessed 10 years later over and above IQ and big five personality traits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113(1), 167–184.  https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Su, R. (2012). The power of vocational interests and interest congruence in predicting career success (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34329.
  64. Su, R., & Rounds, J. (2015). All STEM fields are not created equal: People and things interests explain gender disparities across STEM fields. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(FEB), 1–20.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Su, R., Rounds, J., & Armstrong, P. I. (2009). Men and things, women and people: A meta-analysis of sex differences in interests. Psychological Bulletin, 135(6), 859–854.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0017364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tay, L., Su, R., & Rounds, J. (2011). People–things and data–ideas: Bipolar dimensions? Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(3), 424–440.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tinsley, H. E. A. (2000). The congruence myth: An analysis of the efficacy of the person–environment fit model. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 56(2), 147–179.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jvbe.1999.1727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tranberg, M., Slane, S., & Ekeberg, S. E. (1993). The relation between interest congruence and satisfaction: A meta analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 42(3), 253–264.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jvbe.1993.1018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tsabari, O., Tziner, A., & Meir, E. I. (2005). Updated meta-analysis on the relationship between congruence and satisfaction. Journal of Career Assessment, 13(2), 216–232.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1069072704273165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Van den Akker, A. L., Deković, M., Asscher, J., & Prinzie, P. (2014). Mean-level personality development across childhood and adolescence: A temporary defiance of the maturity principle and bidirectional associations with parenting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(4), 736–750.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Van Iddekinge, C. H., Putka, D. J., & Campbell, J. P. (2011). Reconsidering vocational interests for personnel selection: The validity of an interest-based selection test in relation to job knowledge, job performance, and continuance intentions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(1), 13–33.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Verquer, M. L., Beehr, T. A., & Wagner, S. H. (2003). A meta-analysis of relations between person–organization fit and work attitudes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63(3), 473–489.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0001-8791(02)00036-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., Mac Iver, D., Reuman, D. A., & Midgley, C. (1991). Transitions during early adolescence: Changes in children’s domain-specific self-perceptions and general self-esteem across the transition to junior high school. Developmental Psychology, 27(4), 552–565.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.27.4.552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Woodcock, A., Graziano, W. G., Branch, S. E., Habashi, M. M., Ngambeki, I., & Evangelou, D. (2013). Person and thing orientations: Psychological correlates and predictive utility. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(1), 116–123.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550612444320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zytowski, D. G., & Hay, R. (1984). Do birds of a feather flock together? A test of the similarities within and the differences between five occupations. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 24(2), 242–248.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-8791(84)90010-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin A. Hoff
    • 1
  • Jessamyn G. Perlus
    • 1
  • James Rounds
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

Personalised recommendations