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Saturday, August 2, 2008

History of Interest Inventories

This is the seventh article in a series of articles that will discuss the literature on the predominant career theories; history of and theory behind interest inventories; a discussion of the prominent interest inventories; the best use of interest inventories in the career development process; conceptual additions applicable to the study of interest inventories; literature that has focused on career indecision in adolescents; and educational interventions with additional focus placed on middle schools. All of these articles come from dissertations by Virginia Robinson Richards, EdD, and Stephen Randall Richards, EdD, both copyrighted 1998. These articles are presented as a quick refresher for professional guidance counselors, an introduction to these theories for the non-professional, and as a starting point for students of the many disciplines related to career development theory. The bibliographies are purposely missing. If you choose to copy our work (shame on you), you will at least have to go to the library to find the work and maybe touch the covers of these works. We appologize for the non-academic format, but in a blogging forum it is not possible to keep the work as originally presented.

History of Interest Inventories

Definitions of Interests
Hansen (1984) found three distinct components mentioned in the literature addressing the meaning of interests. First, interests have often been linked to personality (Berdie, 1944; Darley, 1941; Holland, 1985) as indicated by Holland’s (1985) reference to six categories of interest as personality types. Next, motivation or drive has been mentioned in defining interests (Berdie, 1944; Darley & Hagenah, 1955; Strong, 1955). The third component has been labeled self-concept (Bordin, 1943; Super, 1990). Composed of intelligence, interest, and social status, Super referred to self-concept as how one sees one’s self and, as such, is an important determinant of career development.

A long-standing and comprehensive definition of interests in which personality and motivation are mentioned was defined by Layton (1958). The interests of an individual can be defined as his (or her) like for, dislike for, or indifference to something such as an object, occupation, person, a task, an idea, or an activity. Interests are one aspect of what is broadly considered as the motivation of an individual. Thus, interests are a part of the person’s personality structure of organization. When the individual’s interest is described in relation to occupations or the world of work, we speak of his (or her) vocational interests. (pp. 3-4)

Types of Interests
Interest can be characterized as expressed interest ‑ what an individual expresses an interest in, manifest interest ‑ what an individual actually does as an indication of what one’s interests are, inventoried interest ‑ interests determined by the pattern of an individual’s responses to lists of occupations or activities, and tested interest ‑ measurement of one’s vocabulary in a particular area in the belief that if one is truly interested in something, he or she will know the vocabulary used in that area (Super & Crites, 1962). The first studies of interest were centered around expressed interest, but work done during the past half century has focused on inventoried interest since early findings by Arsenian (1942), Bendell (1941), Cronbach (1970), and Darley and Hagenah (1955) concurred in concluding that little relationship existed between expressed interest and inventoried interest.

While these early negative findings led to neglect of expressed interests in counseling, studies by Borgen and Seling (1978), Enright and Pinneau (1955), Holland and Gottfredson (1975), and McArthur and Stevens (1955) found expressed and inventoried interests about equally predictive of occupational entry. Super (1990) maintained that expressed interests or preferences held over a long period of time are a very good indicator of occupational entry and success in the occupation. According to Hansen (1984), integration of expressed and inventoried interests is the preferred method of vocational exploration. Students who have a definite occupational choice may use interest inventory scores as confirmation of choices already made, whereas, students with conflicting results between expressed and inventories interest have a reason to explore the reason behind the discrepancies that may lead to a better understanding of an individual’s motivation for occupational selection.
Early Work With Interest Assessment

Early assessment of career-related interest was attained by asking persons to estimate how they felt about an occupation or activity (Fryer, 1931). Individuals were allowed to try out an occupation by taking courses in the occupational field, reading information about the occupation, or by actually working in the occupation in an effort to increase the accuracy of an individual’s estimates about an occupation or activity.

During the early 1920s, interest questionnaires, such as checklists or rating scales, replaced the try-out methods to save time and cost. One of the most popular checklists of the time, Miner’s Analysis of Work Interests (1922), was taken individually and then discussed during a counseling session. Next came rating scales, with Kitson’s (1925) Vocation-to-Vocation rating scale being one of the most popular during the late 1920s. Kitson’s scale asked people to rate the vocation in which they were actually employed in relation to all other vocations.

Following on the heels of interest questionnaires, interest inventories were developed in an effort to provide better estimates of interests (Hansen, 1984). Interest inventories were designed with a statistical component for summarizing an individual’s interest into a score representing the degree of interest in a field, profession, or occupation. Interest inventories that incorporated objective scoring procedures were the most common. Though appearing before Miner’s (1922) and Kitson’s (1925) checklists, Kelley’s (1914) battery of questions was the first to be scored and appeared to have provided a template for later inventories. Kelley’s instrument combined both an inventory that asked for estimates of interests and an objective test that measured one’s knowledge about certain occupations.

In 1919, Clarence S. Yoakum taught a seminar at Carnegie Institute of Technology during which a pool of over 1000 items was developed without involving any statistical analysis of the items. Rather, an attempt was made to write items representing the entire domain of interests (Hansen, 1984). Though later investigators worked to identify, through statistical analysis, the worth of the original items in terms of the degree to which the items discriminated between the like, dislike, and indifferent responses of various groups, it was determined that changes in society, technological discoveries, and technological obsolescence make the process of refining items pools a never ending challenge. In 1921, the Carnegie Interest Inventory was developed at another Yoakum seminar by condensing several interest inventories developed using samples of the items formulated during the 1919 seminar (Hansen, 1984). Much work was done that closely resembled the original Carnegie Interest Inventory, including the Occupational Interest Inventory (Freyd, 1923), Interest Report Blank (Cowdery, 1926), General Interest Survey (Kornhauser, 1927), Purdue Interest Report (Remmers, 1929), Interest Analysis Blank (Hubbard, 1930), and Minnesota Interest Inventory (Paterson, Elliot, Anderson, Toops, & Heidbreder, 1930). Some of the early interest inventories have been adapted over time and some have disappeared, but one of the most important outcomes of the Youkum Seminar is the Strong Vocational Interest Blank--Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SVIB-SCII) because it is still the most frequently used test in college counseling centers (Hansen, 1984).

Prominent Interest Inventories

Strong Vocational Interest Blank--Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SVIB-SCII) Strong was among a group that developed a derivative of the Carnegie Interest Inventory during the 1920s. The research conducted by Clarence Yoakum provided Edward K. Strong with ideas on the measurement of interests leading to his development of the Strong Vocational Interest Blank (SVIB) which placed the technical and usage levels of vocational interest measurement near the technical and usage levels of the measurements of intelligence and aptitudes (Darley & Hagenah, 1955). Strong systematically collected large amounts of test data showing that people in different occupations can be distinguished from each other by the simple procedure of asking them to check their likes and dislikes on a long checklist (Campbell & Hansen, 1981; Super, 1942).

Strong’s inventory was developed by means of a strictly empirical procedure, making few psychological assumptions and developing his scoring formulas on the basis of correlations of responses with criteria (Cronbach, 1949). Modifying the initial empirical methods of differentiating occupations one from another by using factor analysis, Strong then developed a method of identifying items within the interest tests to distinguish characteristics of specific occupations from those of people in general (Hansen, 1990). These responses to items that members of an occupation have in common constitute normative scales on which items are internally consistent or homogeneous only for the occupational group which they differentiate, thereby allowing counselors to report the degree to which the test-taker has interests similar to those of persons in a given occupation (Zytowski, 1973).

Strong’s initial interest inventory consisted of a list of four hundred occupations, school subjects, hobbies, types of activities, personal characteristics, and similar items with the examinee indicating like, dislike, or indifference to each activity and whether or not the identified characteristic was possessed. These results were then compared to the responses of other persons known to have achieved success in a given occupation. Strong’s normative scales compared interests of an individual with those of persons in a particular occupation or, perhaps, a college major (Campbell & Hansen, 1981; Super, 1942). Campbell and Hansen maintained while the SVIB "cannot tell anyone where he will succeed . . . (it can) act as a mirror to reflect back the individual’s interests in a manner allowing comparison of his likes and dislikes to those in individuals in specified occupations . . . (where he is) likely to find job satisfaction" (p. 2).

The SVIB, published in 1927, has been revised twice for men (1938 and 1966). The women’s SVIB, first published in 1933 and revised twice (1946 and 1969), is thought to be psychometrically superior to the men’s form because new techniques and analyses were tried with the men’s form, evaluated, and then modifications were made on the women’s revision. Renamed the Srong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII) in 1974, the choice was made to merge the female and male inventories, marking the beginning of an effort to provide equal career exploration opportunities for both women and men (Hansen, 1986). The SCII later underwent revision in 1981 and again in 1986 when SVIB items were selected to represent each of Holland’s personality types. The General Occupational Themes were broadened with the emphasis shifting from offering predominantly professionally oriented occupations to offering a mix of professional occupations along with nonprofessional or vocational-technical, thus, increasing the utility of the inventory to include those with a wider range of occupational and educational goals. Hackett and Watkins (1995) observed that the 1985 revision to renorm the occupational samples, to increase the number of occupational scales, and to decrease the gender restrictiveness has been successful.

Used widely with a varied clientele including high school and college students, cross-cultural populations, and minorities in a variety of settings, e.g., educational, business, and rehabilitation, the SII is also used extensively in research efforts (Hansen, 1986). While Campbell and Hansen (1981) purported "From its inception in 1927, the Strong Vocational Interest Blank was an empirical, atheoretical instrument" (p. 28), Strong’s development of assessment procedures cannot be ignored as the SVIB and SCII are among the most widely used interest inventories today and still have a "profound impact on interest measurement" (Walsh & Osipow, 1986, p. vii).

Holland’s Theory Based Interest Inventories
Holland’s Vocational Preference Inventory. Holland’s (1966) Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) is based on his earlier psychological rationale (1959) that it is possible to categorize people into six types: realistic, intellectual, social, conventional, enterprising, and artistic. As Holland developed the VPI, he also developed his theory of careers (Holland, 1966). The true significance of Holland’s work is that in each case, he developed his theory first and then designed instruments based on this theory. Holland’s theory was developed by extensively examining the vocational interest, vocational choice, and personality literature to identify interest and personality factors, then determining the relationship between these factors. Scales were developed using occupational titles as items representative of the factors to measure the personality factors. Holland originally developed 7 scales: Physical activity, Intellectual, Responsibility, Conformity, Verbal activity, Emotionality, and Reality Orientation. These were later reduced to 6 and renamed: Realistic, Investigative, Social, Conventional, Enterprising, and Artistic.

Holland (1973) developed the Self Directed Search (SDS) as a result of the continued development of his theory of careers. Holland (1973) saw the SDS as “one way in which the classification and the theory have been used to organize the assessment of the person and world of occupations within the same framework” (p. 86), viewing the SDS as simulating “in an explicit way what counselors, parents, psychologists, and personnel workers do in more intuitive and less precise ways” (p. 87).

Holland’s Self-Directed Search. The SDS (Holland & Rayman, 1986) was developed for two purposes: to increase the number of people a counselor could successfully work with, and to provide vocational counseling to those who do not have, or who do not wish to have, access to a counselor. First published in 1971 and revised in 1977 and 1985, the SDS provides the test taker an assessment booklet which, when filled out, yields a hierarchical three-letter classification code with the first letter representing the strongest preference for a particular personality type. The three-letter code is then used in conjunction with the Occupations Finder to locate suitable occupations, simulating what a person and a counselor might do together over a period of several interviews. By eliminating unnecessary individual counseling and reducing the time needed to proctor, mail, score, and interpret interest inventories, counselors could spend more time with those who need individual counseling.

Based on Holland’s (1985) theory of career choice, the SDS was developed using the hypothesis that certain characteristics, i.e., competencies, preferred activities and self-ratings of abilities, of the individual as well as vocational interests are important in the vocational choice process (Campbell, 1988). Identified by Holland’s research (1985), six personality types, i.e., Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional, serve as the basis to relate a person’s self-assessment of abilities and interests to appropriate occupations. Also based on Holland’s (1985) theory is the concept that a relationship exists between the person’s characteristics and a work environment, and that individuals will achieve greater success, satisfaction, and stability in occupations where the work environment fits their personality. Thus, the SDS can be used in identifying appropriate career choices.

Holland and Rayman (1986) considered the SDS to be an advance in interest assessment and vocational treatment for several reasons:

1. A person’s vocational aspirations, interests, competencies, and self-rated abilities are organized by a particular theory and related to an occupational classification system using the same theory.

2. Self-administered, self-scored, and self-interpreted, the SDS can be used with or without a counselor.

3. An ideal innovation, the SDS is an inexpensive assessment-intervention requiring no special training and is compatible with other existing career material.

4. The theoretical base of the SDS demonstrates that long term research and development support continued and constructive revisions.

5. An open inventory, the undisguised groupings of items on the scales communicate the structure of vocational interests to encourage the test taker to think about work and personal characteristics in a systematic way.

6. The SDS and its related theory “represent a technological-theoretical advance” because they provide an “organization for mapping and understanding the massive information about people and occupations and the relation of one to the other” (p. 58).

The SDS consists of an Assessment Booklet, an Occupations Finder, and an interpretative booklet Understanding Yourself and Your Career. Developed to counter complaints that the SDS was not as self-interpreting as promised, the booklet was an effort to permit understanding of the theory behind the SDS rather than a simple description of the personality types (Holland & Rayman, 1986). The booklet also encourages test takers to further investigate the jobs identified as appropriate and to view this list of jobs as only suggestions. Consulting with a counselor is also suggested, and some question the ability of individuals to administer, score, and interpret their own SDS (Brown, 1975; Cutts, 1977; Dolliver & Hansen, 1977).

The Assessment Booklet includes six scales with 38 items per scale in each of three categories: activities, competencies, and occupations, ability ratings in 6 areas, and 8 lines on which to list occupational daydreams, careers the test takers have daydreamed about, and those the test takers have discussed with others. The test taker then scores the responses given and calculates 6 summary scores. Using the summary scores, the test taker obtains a three-letter code determined by the three highest summary scores. The summary code is then used to locate appropriate occupational options listed in the Occupations Finder which contains 1,156 occupations (Holland & Rayman, 1986).

During revisions, additional job titles have been added to the Occupations Finder to make the list more reflective of current occupations. Changes have been made in an attempt to diminish sex differences in responses to the scales by altering selected items on the Occupations Scale. Devised for poor readers, Form E, i.e., Easy, (1979) was a modification of the SDS lowering the reading level several grade levels, i.e., Grade 4, below the standard form, i.e., Grade 8, with the scoring procedure yielding a two-letter rather than a three-letter code. Form E’s Occupations Finder, renamed Job Finder, has been modified to reflect the use of the two-letter rather than three-letter codes (Campbell, 1988; Holland &, Rayman 1986).

Campbell (1988) and Manuele-Adkins (1989) expressed concern about the number of scoring errors made by test takers, the inconsistent use of Holland’s typology across sections of the measure, and questions about test fairness because of the use of raw rather than normed scores. Zener and Schnuelle (1976) compared the SDS, the Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI), and no treatment. High school students taking the SDS or VPI evaluated the inventories as positive, were satisfied with their current occupational choice, considering more occupational alternatives than the control group, and the SDS group had less need to see a counselor. Pallas, Dahmann, Gucer, and Holland (1983) reported similar findings with high school and college students, as well as workers. Additionally, Power, Holland, Daiger, and Takai (1979) found that test takers with a clear sense of vocational identity found the SDS experience reassuring.

The Use of Interest Inventories To Affect Change

Little recent research was discovered concerning the power of interest inventories or other exploration instruments to affect change in exploration behaviors, described by Oliver and Spokane (1988) as exploration validity. But work of particular interest in this area is Gottfredson’s (1986) principles of beneficial test usage. Gottfredson prescribes a method for the use of interest inventories and feedback reports to affect career exploration. These principles are of particular importance because they serve as a guide for the successful implementation of the RIPA to maximize the benefits that students receive from the experience.

Gottfredson’s Principles of Beneficial Test Usage
Gottfredson’s (1986) list of principles of beneficial test usage was designed to put vocational interest testing in a broad prospective by suggesting how interest inventories might be used in a beneficial manner. She also described types of results that could be expected when interest inventories and feedback are properly used. It is important to have a valid assessment of a person’s vocational interest because these interests reflect people’s perception of who they are (i.e., occupational self-concept) and because they influence career attitudes and behavior. The following list is a restatement and elaboration of principles found in the counseling literature. Gottfredson believed these principles apply to any person or group. Principles of beneficial test usage propose that:

1. Inventories should be viewed as treatments.

2. Interest inventories and their interpretive materials constitute packages of interventions with specific packages differing somewhat from one inventory to another.

3. Interest inventories are most useful when embedded within a broader career counseling process that recognizes the constraints on career choice.

4. Treatment should be tied to goals.

5. Goals for the counseling process, including interest inventories, should relate to the adjustment and welfare of individuals rather than to social groups of which individuals may be a member.

6. Career counseling strategies, including the use of interest inventories, should be targeted to counselees’ career development problems rather than to counselees’ special group status unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.

7. Interest inventory scores are useful in diagnosing whether career choice is proceeding satisfactorily and why it may not be if it is not.

8. Interpretive materials that accompany interest inventories can be valuable in exposing and treating some underlying problems in career choice.

9. Interest inventories are useful in developing next best alternatives when compromises are necessary.

Gottfredson’s (1986) principles of beneficial test usage present a model procedure for use of the RIPA in providing the most beneficial results for students. Cole and Hanson (1975) suggested that “interest inventories should no longer be merely reported or interpreted. They should change behavior” (p. 12). Likewise, Zytowski (1978) stated that “interest inventories have become an instrument of social change” (p. 129). This view was resounded by Rounds and Tinsley (1984) when they noted “the active ingredients of several vocational intervention procedures are assumed to be the assessment process itself” (p. 130). Gottfredson suggested that if her nine principles are followed, exploration will be promoted.

Exploration Behavior
During the past several years, researchers have been rejecting the importance of predictive or concurrent validity studies for evaluating interest inventories and have begun advocating that an interest inventory should be evaluated primarily for its capacity to generate exploratory behaviors for female and male clients (Borgen & Bernard, 1982). For example, Cooper (1976) challenged publishers of interest inventories to conduct research to provide interpretive materials that would facilitate an increase in women’s exploration of career choices. The concept of exploration validity was first put forth by Tittle (1978), and the concept is evolving as an important index of the effectiveness of career interventions and is viewed as just as important as attitudes and satisfaction with career interventions (Borgen & Bernard, 1982; Oliver & Spokane, 1988; Randahl et al 1993). Randahl et al. noted that though attitudes and satisfaction with career interventions are important outcomes to assess, the evaluation of exploration validity (i.e., instrumental behaviors [Oliver & Spokane, 1988]) of interest inventories or career interventions gradually has evolved as another important index of their effectiveness.

The lack of exploration validity studies for the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) was noted as one of its shortcomings (Borgen & Bernard, 1982). As a result of the Borgen and Bernard study, Slaney and Lewis (1986) conducted a study of the SII and the Vocational Card Sort (VCS) with 34 career-undecided female reentry undergraduates. The results of the study showed that both the SII and the VCS were useful in facilitating career exploration.

Randahl et al. (1993) conducted a 2-phase longitudinal study to explore the exploration validity (i.e., the power of interest inventories to facilitate career exploration activities such as talking to professionals and seeking vocational information) of the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) for college students. The participants included 75 students in an experimental group which participated in SII testing and a group interpretation, and 67 students in a contrast group which received nothing. Students in the experimental group reported significantly more instrumental career exploration behaviors 1 year after taking the SII than did the contrast group. The Randahl et al. study holds particular significance for the present study as it is parallel to the Randahl et al. study except conducted on the RIPA.

The Influence of Various Independent Variables on Career Development

Career Development and Gender
Gottfredson (1996) suggested sex-role stereotyping occurs between ages 6 to 8 and cited many studies to support her proposition. Lapan and Jingeleski (1992) and Sastre and Mullet (1992) confirmed early studies by Gottfredson (1981) that gender, social class, and intelligence are related to the field or level of occupational aspirations. Using factor analysis, Lapan and Jingeleski found six factors affecting eighth graders’ assessment of occupations: Conventional, Investigative, Realistic, Enterprising, Social, and Adventure. This study indicated a strong degree of sex role stereotyping for the less prestigious sextyped clusters (Conventional and Realistic). There were, however, few sex differences in self-ratings for the more sex-neutral Enterprising and Investigative fields of work. The lowest relationship was for cross-sextyped clusters (Conventional and Social for boys and Realistic and Adventure for girls).

Looft (1971) and Zunker (1990) found when asked what they want to be when they grow up, most boys respond with football player and policeman, with doctor, dentist, priest, and pilot being less frequent, while most girls answered nurse and teacher most frequently, followed by mother and flight attendant. Additionally, Nilsen (1971) referred to the apron syndrome brought about by the many pictures in children’s reading books of women in aprons. As late as the 1970s, most schools directed girls into typing and home economics while ushering boys into math and science classes.

One theory has been put forth that describing what happens to children as they grow, experience influences by various forces, and eventually make decisions about a future career. Though praised by Brooks (1990), severely criticized by Betz and Fitzgerald (1987), and scrutinized in recent research (Taylor &, Pryor 1985; Pryor & Taylor, 1986; Pryor, 1987; Henderson, Hesketh, & Tuffin, 1988; Holt, 1989; Hesketh, Elmslie, & Kaldor, 1990; Hesketh, Durant, & Pryor, 1990; Leung & Plake, 1990), Gottfredson’s (1981 & 1996) theory of circumscription and compromise set forth a developmental theory of occupational aspirations in which she posited the idea that gender will have the greatest influence on occupational preferences from age 6 through 9. After age 9, social background has a greater effect on occupational preference.

Gottfredson (1981, 1996) hypothesized that as career choices are made, compromise occurs. Specifically, individuals will give up interests first, prestige second, and sex-stereotyped occupations last. This theory suggests the difficulty for girls and women considering nontraditional careers. Henderson, Hesketh, and Tuffin (1988) found that gender was more important in career choice between ages 6 and 8, but after age 8, prestige was more important than gender in making occupational choice.

In a study of 37,000 17 year-old high school students, Miller (1977) found more males aspiring to professional occupations with females seeing themselves as homemakers and in sex traditional occupational roles. Males also chose sex traditional occupational roles, such as craftsperson, farmer, laborer, and manager. In a study of 50,000 12th grade students conducted over a 6-year period, Garrison (1979) found aspirations of women high school seniors for high-status professional occupations had increased while finding a declining interest in clerical-sales careers and lower-level professions for women. Fottler and Bain (1980) found females tended to aspire to professional and technical occupations slightly more than males, but aspired to managerial occupations less often than men.

Research indicates that girls may have difficulty making use of occupational information with traditionally male-dominated occupations and may have less confidence in their ability to make certain career-related decisions (Sharf, 1992). In a self-esteem study of 7th grade adolescents, Robison-Awana, Kehle, and Jenson (1986) found that both boys and girls believed that girls had lower self-esteem. Similarly, Betz and Fitzgerald (1987) found that sex-role stereotyping is still entrenched among adolescent boys and girls and is aggravated by sex bias in career materials and in ways that school teachers may relate to boys and girls.

Throughout assessment literature, gender restrictiveness has been noted as an issue of great concern (Betz & Fitzgerald, 1987; Gottfredson, 1986; Gottfredson; 1996). While Super (1990) and Westbrook (1983) indicated that girls tend to score slightly higher than boys on measures of career maturity, socialization experiences of boys and girls have been and will continue to be different (Sharf, 1992), thereby, presenting the test designer with a tremendous challenge of making tests fair for both genders (Betz, 1990; Hackett & Lonborg, 1994). This fact suggests the need to address all portions of the career development process to assure that individuals understand how to make use of occupational information concerning all occupations.

It is possible to see the legislative result of research done in this area in the School-to-Work Act (1996) which established a national framework for states to reform their educational systems to facilitate students’ transition from school to the workplace, expose them to a variety of industries, and provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the workplace of the future (Education Development Center, 1998). Congress’ intention to promote gender equity is domonstrated in the Act’s mandate that School-to-Work systems incorporate programs to encourage women to pursue nontraditional careers.

Academic Achievement and Career Development
Important work has examined the area of the relationship of academic ability and measured interests including the work of Swanson (1993). In Swanson’s study, participants completed the Strong Interest Inventory and a self-rating instrument. Results suggested that interests, abilities, and skills were distinct and should be considered separate constructs that could be assessed independently. However, interests, abilities, and skills within the same Holland (1985) career interest type showed predictable relations to the other. In another recent development, the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS) (Campbell, Hyne, & Nilsen, 1992) has shown important implications for the assessment of abilities, assessment of interests, and job- and community-related variables. Campbell (1993) noted that responses to the skill items can best interpreted as measures of self-confidence.

Studies that indicate more exploration in the use of self-estimates and measured estimates of ability in career assessment are needed (Hackett & Watkins, 1995). Westbrook, Sanford, Gilleland, Fleenor, and Mervin (1988) found that when measured abilities are compared to self-assessment of one’s abilities, considerable variability results. People who underestimate their abilities need assistance in developing a robust sense of educational and career efficacy (Betz, 1992; Hackett & Lonborg, 1994).

In a study designed to investigate the longitudinal influence of select demographic and latent variables on the development of adolescents’ occupational aspirations at early, mid-, and late adolescence, Rojewski and Yang (1997) found “that both academic achievement and self-evaluation had consistent, positive, and statistically significant influences on occupational aspirations” (p. 403). Additionally, they found that “aspirations, self-evaluation, and academic achievement were relatively stable constructs across the three points of interest” in the study (p. 402). They did note that occupational aspirations were more likely to change over time than academic achievement. The Rojewski and Yang study clearly indicated academic achievement had a greater influence on occupational aspirations at Grade eight than at Grade ten. This points out a need to provide career development programs at or below grade eight for students of higher academic acheivement. This would be a time when students of greater academic achievement can best take advantage of the career development programs. In later years, students of lower academic achievement seem to catch up in their occupational aspirations. Perhaps students with less academic achievement begin to realize they are drawing near to the time to begin employment if they do not continue their education.

Throughout the history of career development, the most constant thread has been the importance of individual interests. Early efforts were aimed at measurement of interests for the purpose of predicting the best occupational fit given individual strengths, limitations, and needs (Strong, 1927). Later, measurements of interests were intended to provide an image of the individuals personality (Holland, 1985). Considerable work has been done to try to understand the origin of interests (Roe, 1956; Holland, 1985). As career development theory evolved and matured, measurement of interests has continued to hold an important place. It is important to have a valid assessment of a person’s vocational interest because these interests reflect people’s perception of who they are (i.e., occupational self-concept) and because they influence career attitudes and behavior.

Stephen R. Richards, EdD

In this series of articles similar threads wre investigated by two different people. One must keep in mind that the review of lietrature for a dissertation must reflect the purpose of the study. Two different purposes will yield slightly different results for the same area of study.
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Theories of Career Development

This is the sixth article in a series of articles that will discuss the literature on the predominant career theories; history of and theory behind interest inventories; a discussion of the prominent interest inventories; the best use of interest inventories in the career development process; conceptual additions applicable to the study of interest inventories; literature that has focused on career indecision in adolescents; and educational interventions with additional focus placed on middle schools. All of these articles come from dissertations by Virginia Robinson Richards, EdD, and Stephen Randall Richards, EdD, both copyrighted 1998. These articles are presented as a quick refresher for professionl guidance counselors, an introduction to these theories for the non-professional, and as a starting point for students of the many disciplines related to career development theory. The bibliographies are purposely missing. If you choose to copy our work (shame on you), you will at least have to go to the library to find the work and maybe touch the covers of these works. We appologize for the non-academic format, but in a blogging forum it is not possible to keep the work as originally presented.

In this section, I will examine theories of vocational interest that are clearly an important part of the history of career development theory. Then, I will examine two career development theories that strongly influenced this study. The first is Holland’s theory (1966, 1973, 1985) pertaining to the use of interest inventories as tools of exploratory interventions. The second theory, the work of Super (1990), will be described as it provides a master plan of how the RIPA is used as an exploratory intervention and how it fits in a complete career development scheme.

Roe’s Personality Development Theory
Roe’s (1956) theory was examined earlier as it influenced theories of vocational interests, but also of considerable importance is Roe’s personality development theory. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Roe began her theory development through observations of artists and research scientists focusing on “possible relationships between occupational behavior (not just choice) and personality” (Roe & Lunneborg, 1990, p. 68). In looking at other studies, Roe identified and categorized a list of needs involving persons’ feelings concerning work. Common threads in these studies were bodily well-being, a need for food, a need for activity, and a need for self-realization through work. Roe argued that people do not work just to earn a living but that “much more is involved in and expected of a job than a pay check” (p. 23). Roe determined that occupations form a major focus of individuals’ lives through thoughts and activities, e.g., “in our culture, social and economic status depend more on the occupation (of the individual, the father, or even less frequently now, the husband) than on any other one thing‑even wealth” (p. 69). Roe turned to Maslow’s (1948) hierarchy of needs including physiological needs, safety needs, need for belonging and love, need for importance, respect, self-esteem, independence, need for information, need for understanding, need for beauty, and a need for self-actualization. Maslow’s theory suggested that people place greater urgency on basic needs such as food, shelter, and safety before being capable of expressing needs on the higher levels, and, consequently, these other needs remain unachievable to the average individual until those basic needs are satisfied. Roe believed that occupations in modern society can provide satisfaction at all levels of need.

Roe (1957) saw the interaction of heredity and environment as important in causing a child to develop a person or nonperson orientation, and to lead an individual to select an occupation that requires either high or low levels of interaction with others. Roe (1957) wrote extensively in describing her theory, but it has been summarized by others (Osipow, 1973; Walsh & Osipow, 1983) as follows:

1. Limits of potential development are set by genetic inheritance including intellectual abilities, temperament, interests, and abilities.

2. General cultural background and socioeconomic status of the family affect unique individual experience.

3. Individual experiences governed by involuntary attention determine the pattern of development of interests, attitudes, and other personality variables that have not been genetically controlled.

a. Early satisfactions and frustrations resulting from the family situation, particularly relations with parents; i.e., overprotectiveness, avoidance, or acceptance of the child.

b. Degrees of needs satisfaction determine which of Maslow’s (1948) needs will become the strongest motivators.

4. The eventual pattern of psychic energies, i.e., attention-directed, is the major determinant of interests.

5. The intensity with which an individual feels (Maslow, 1948) needs and the satisfaction of needs determine the degree of motivation to accomplish.

Roe (1956) was dissatisfied with available classifications of occupations and developed a list of eight occupational groups including service, business contact, organization, technology, outdoor, science, general culture, and arts/entertainment. Each group was divided into 6 levels of responsibility, capability, and skill needed to perform at each level.

Several instruments have been developed using Roe’s (1956) theory. These include Roe’s own (1957) Parent-Child Relations Questionnaire (PCR 1), Career Occupational Preference System (COPS, Knapp & Knapp, 1984), Computerized Vocational Information System (CVIS, Harris, 1968), Ramak and Courses (Meir & Barak, 1973), and Individual Career Exploration (ICE, Miller-Tiedeman, 1976).

Although Roe’s theory has not been validated (Osipow, 1973), her work has contributed to an understanding of the importance of the role of occupations in the lives of individuals. Walsh and Osipow (1983) noted that Roe’s greatest achievement may lie in the use of her two-way job classification and the concept of people versus ideas meaning that people will either have an orientation toward people or an orientation away from people. These two ideas have changed the way counselors work with clients.
Social Learning Theory of Career Choice and Counseling

Social cognitive theory of behavior was developed by Bandura (1969) to explain the way personality and behaviors arise from an individual’s unique learning experiences and the effects negative and positive reinforcement have on these experiences. According to social cognitive or learning theory, three major types of learning experiences influence behaviors and skills that allow a person to function effectively in society. Bandura proposed that (a) instrumental learning experiences occur when an individual is positively or negatively reinforced for a behavior, (b) associative learning experiences occur when an individual associates a previously neutral event with an emotionally laden event, and (c) vicarious experiences occur when one individual observes the behavior of others or gains new information and ideas from other sources.

Krumboltz’s theory (Krumboltz, 1981; Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996) built on the work of Bandura (1969, 1977) to develop his revised theory which “posits two major types of learning experiences that result in individual behavioral and cognitive skills and preferences that allow people to function effectively in the world” (p. 234). First, is instrumental learning experiences which “occur when a person is positively reinforced or punished for the exercise of some behavior and the associated cognitive skills” (p. 234). Second, is associative learning experiences which “occur when people associate some previously affectively neutral event or stimulus with an emotonally laden event or stimulus” (p. 234). Within these factors, Krumboltz developed a number of testable propositions and determined that equal importance rests on the inverse influence of each. Listed here are the three basic factor groups.
1. Factors that influence preferences with an educational or occupational preference being an evaluative self-observation generalization based on those learning experiences pertinent to any career task and propositions explaining the acquisition of these preferences.
2. Factors influencing career-decision making skills with propositions explaining how these particular skills are acquired.
3. Factors influencing entry behaviors into educational or occupational alternatives with propositions explaining factors accounting for the actual entry behaviors into occupations, training programs, or educational courses of study.

Brown (1990a) pointed out that the social learning theory is not developmental, does not really account for job change, and would therefore not be useful in determining normative behavior or designing career development programs. Brown maintained that Krumboltz’s (1981) theory is not a major influence on career development research or the practice of career counseling. Brown did, however, expect to see researchers attracted to projects involving the constructs of the Krumboltz theory because the theory is tightly constructed and hypotheses of the theory are testable.

Social Cognitive Career Theory
Hackett and Betz (1981), Taylor and Betz (1983), Multon, Brown, and Lent (1992), Hackett and Lent (1992), Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994), and Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1996) all worked to refine Bandura’s (1969) general theory on social cognition. The work in this area can be summarized with Lent et al.’s (1994) propositions:
1. An individual’s occupational or academic interests at any point in time are reflective of his or her concurrent self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectations.
2. An individual’s occupational interests also are influenced by his or her occupationally relevant abilities, but this relation is mediated by one’s self-efficacy beliefs.
3. Self-efficacy beliefs affect choice goals and actions both directly and indirectly.
4. Outcomes expectations affect choice goals and actions both directly and indirectly.
5. People will aspire to enter (i.e., develop choice goals for) occupations or academic fields that are consistent with their primary interest areas.
6. People will attempt to enter occupations or academic fields that are consistent with choice goals, provided that they are committed to their goal, and their goal is stated in clear terms, proximal to the point of actual entry.
7. Interests affect entry behaviors, (actions) indirectly through their influence on choice goals.
8. Self-efficacy beliefs influence career-academic performance both directly and indirectly through their effect on performance goals. Outcome expectations influence performance only indirectly through their effect on goals.
9. Ability (or aptitude) will affect career/academic performance both directly and indirectly through its influence on self-efficacy beliefs.
10. Self-efficacy beliefs derive from performance accomplishments, vicarious learning, social persuasion, and physiological reactions (e.g., emotional arousal) in relation to particular educational and occupationally relevant activities.
11. As with self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations are generated through direct and vicarious experiences with educational and occupationally relevant activities.
12. Outcome expectations are also partially determined by self-efficacy beliefs, particularly when outcomes (e.g., successes, failures) are closely tied to the quality or level of one’s performance.

Super (1990) saw learning theory as cement holding together various segments of career development theory. In agreement with this, Lent et al. (1994) saw their framework as an effort at unifying rather than proliferating additional theories and should therefore be viewed as “evolving constructions, subject to further empirical scrutiny” (p. 118).

Sociological Theory
Prior to 1967, sociological theory was concerned primarily with how social status affected the level of schooling achieved, which in turn affected occupational level achieved, i.e., intergenerational mobility, and was primarily confined to imprecise verbal statements and rough classifications of occupations into broad socio-economic groups, such as blue-collar and white-collar workers (Hotchkiss & Borow, 1996). Blau & Duncan (1967) developed a more formal model of occupational or status attainment with the development of the Socioeconomic Index (SEI), a graded scale to indicate level of occupational status. Blau and Duncan’s work, closely followed by Sewell, Haller, and Portes (1969) and Sewell, Haller, and Ohlendorf (1970), expanded intergenerational mobility theory to include intervening social-psychological processes, such as educational and occupational aspirations, parent and teacher encouragement for further educational attainment, and plans for further educational attainment, along with parental status and parental years of schooling. This model, known as the Wisconsin model or status attainment model, also included academic performance and standardized test scores as measures of ability. Hotchkiss and Borow (1996) summarized the basic theory of the status attainment model by espousing a model whereby a path of influence flows from the parental status to significant others’ attitudes about appropriate levels of education and occupation to career plans to schooling to occupational status level, thereby, affecting the occupational level of their offspring.

Trait and Factor Theory
Parsons (1909) put forth a three-step schema forming the basis of the first conceptual framework of career decision making (Brown & Brooks, 1990a) and the foundation of the vocational guidance movement (Srebalus, Marinelli, & Messing, 1982; Super, 1983). Parsons’ three-part model advocated personality analysis, where individuals gain an understanding of both their strengths and weaknesses of attributes or traits; job analysis, i.e., given these traits, their conditions for success in occupations; and matching through scientific advising, i.e., make career choices based on the aforementioned information to provide the basis for career decision-making (Brown & Brooks, 1990a; Herr & Cramer, 1988; McDaniels & Gysbers, 1992). Parsons’ formulations are often referred to as the basis of trait and factor theory (Brown, 1990b; Brown & Brooks, 1990b), but the work of Holland (1966, 1973, 1985) brought trait and factor theory to center stage where it remains today.

Holland’s Personality Theory
Holland’s work with the theory of careers can be traced back to his military experience during World War II. As an induction interviewer, he hypothesized that people could be classified into a relatively small number of types. Holland later counseled students at Case Western Reserve University, and physically disabled and psychiatric patients at a Veterans Administration Hospital. These experiences reinforced his belief about classification (Weinrach & Srebalus, 1990).

Holland’s (1985) theory contends that every individual resembles one of six basic personality types, and as a result, manifest some of the behaviors and traits associated with that type. Holland also defined six environments, declared that environments are characterized by the people who occupy them, and stated that an environmental type can be assessed by surveying the occupants of the environment. Holland’s (1985) theory is built on four basic assumptions:
1. In our culture, most persons can be categorized as one of six types: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, or conventional.
2. There are six kinds of environments: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, or conventional.
3. People search for environments that will let them exercise their skills and abilities, express their attitudes and values, and take on agreeable problems and roles.
4. Behavior is determined by an interaction between personality and environment. (pp. 2-4)

In developing his types, Holland looked at results of a study conducted by Guilford, Christensen, Bond, and Sutton (1954) in which they used factor analyses with data gathered using the Strong Vocational Interest Blank. In that study, Guilford et al. found seven interest factors: mechanical, scientific, social welfare, aesthetic expression, clerical, business, and outdoor. Holland dropped the outdoor classification and renamed the other six as Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. Holland (1985) defines the types as follows:
1. Realistic people have a preference for activities that entail the explicit, ordered, or systematic manipulation of objects, tools, machines, and animals. Realistic people have an aversion to educational or therapeutic activities.
2. Investigative people have a preference for activities that entail the observational, symbolic, systematic, and creative investigation of physical, biological, and cultural phenomena in order to understand and control such phenomena. Investigative people have an aversion to persuasive, social, and repetitive activities.
3. Artistic people have a preference for ambiguous, free, unsystematized activities that entail the manipulation of physical, verbal, or human materials to create art forms or products. In addition, artistic people have an aversion to explicit, systematic, and ordered activities.
4. Social people have a preference for activities that entail the manipulation of others to inform, train, develop, cure, or enlighten. Social people have an aversion to explicit, ordered, systematic activities involving materials, tools, or machines.
5. Enterprising people have a preference for activities that entail the manipulation of others to attain organizational goals or economic gain. Enterprising people have an aversion to observational, symbolic, and systematic activities.
6. Conventional people have a preference for activities that entail the explicit, ordered, systematic manipulation of data, such as keeping records, filing materials, reproducing materials, organizing written and numerical data according to a prescribed plan, operating business machines and data processing machines to attain organizational or economic goals. Conventional people have an aversion to ambiguous, free, exploratory, or unsystematized activities.

Holland (1985) revised his belief that individuals could be characterized as belonging to a single one of the six types to a belief that one of the six types will predominate and other subtypes influence the person’s personality. All six types are represented in a person’s total profile, but Holland developed a system of defining personalities based on the three most prevalent types found in the individual. A three-letter code was used to describe personality types. The code called RAI would describe a person who is realistic, artistic, and investigative.

Through research on Holland’s theory, correlations were calculated that showed the psychological similarity across types. In an effort to present a visual representation of the theory, a hexagonal model was developed showing the relationships between the types. Holland (1973) introduced five key concepts in addition to his four basic assumptions:

1. Consistency. Using the hexagon to graphically represent the relationships between the personality types, Holland defined the degree of personality consistency. The closer the types appear on the hexagon, i.e., when the first two letters of the subtype are adjacent on the hexagon, the more consistent the person is thought to be. Low consistency is separation of the first two code letters by two intervening letters.

2. Differentiation. Some people and environments more closely resemble a single type, thereby showing less resemblance to other types. Some others may more equally resemble several types. Those personality types resembling several types equally are said to be poorly differentiated while those closely resembling a single type are said to be highly differentiated.

3. Identity. Holland considers this construct necessary to support the formulations of personality types and environments. An individual having identity is said to have clear and stable goals, interests, and talents established.

4. Congruence. This is an example of the old idiom, “Birds of a feather flock together”, meaning persons tend to be happier and perform better in an environment providing the type of reward that is important to that person. For example, a Conventional personality type who enjoys working in a Conventional environment would be said to be a perfect fit , likewise, the least congruence occurs when persons and their environments are at opposite points of the hexagon, i.e., a Realistic personality type working in a Social environment.

5. Calculus. The hexagon not only presents a graphic representation of consistency between person and environment, but also the internal relationships of Holland’s theory, in that “ the distances between the types or environments are inversely proportional to the theoretical relationships between them” (1985, p. 5).

Holland’s (1985) theory has strong implications for this study for a number of reasons. First, the RIPA was designed using Holland’s types and the process of the assessment instrument identifies the individual’s interest profile by use of the Holland types. Second, the three-letter code developed by Holland is used to search for a pallet of congruent occupations. Third, the Career Exploration Report uses the Holland types and definitions of those types to explain the use of interest inventories in the matching of individual characteristics with occupations for career exploration purposes. Fourth, Holland’s overall concept of matching people of a given interest profile with environments of the same profile is the basic belief behind the use of the RIPA to stimulate career exploration. This research will test these beliefs in an attempt to encourage middle school students to participate in career exploration.

Super’s Theory of Career Development
Super’s (1990) theory of career development is a “loosely unified set of theories dealing with specific aspects of career development, taken from developmental, differential, social, personality, and phenomenological psychology and held together by self-concept and learning theory” (p. 199). Super felt that in a sense, there is no “Super theory”, but rather, the synthesizing of ideas and concepts. Though Super himself was continually seeking to more clearly define an accurate model of career development, his theory is considered a well-ordered, highly systematic representation of the process of vocational maturation (Osipow, 1983). Building on the ideas presented by Ginzberg, Ginsburg, Axelrad, and Herma (1951), Super felt the need to formulate a theory that incorporated their ideas and their attempt to formulate a theory.

Much of Super’s thinking about how and why careers unfold as they do was derived from Buehler’s (1933) longitudinal studies of work and related lives of men and women, and Davidson and Anderson’s (1937) work on occupational histories of a representative sample of American men (Super, 1983). From Bordin’s (1943) writings, Super took the notion of self-concept which was described by Bordin as an individual’s self-descriptive and self-evaluative thoughts revealed by behavior. Super (1963) said “an individual’s self-concept is his concept of himself, not inferences made by outside others” (p. 5). Super noted that self-concept formation happens during several phases.

The first phase of self-concept formation is exploration. Exploration necessary for self-concept development takes place throughout the life span as individuals adapt to their ever changing environments (Super, 1990; Super, Savickas, & Super, 1996). Super defined specific parts of the exploration process as differentiation, identification, role playing, and reality testing with each being an important part of exploration.

The second phase of self-concept formation is translation which can occur in three ways. First, adolescent identification with adults may lead to a desire to portray the occupational role filled by an adult, but role playing or reality testing may lead the adolescent to discard the role. Second, role playing or reality testing may allow adolescents to discover that their self-concept and role concept are congenial. Last, adolescents may discover self-attributes that are thought to be important in a certain field of work, therefore leading to conformation that the field of endeavor might be enjoyable and one in which an individual might do well.

The third phase of self-concept development is implementation or actualizing. As one’s education is completed, individuals move into their chosen profession for which education and training have been received. Or in the case of individuals who have failed to prepare for a career, a poor occupational self-concept will often be reinforced by low paying jobs or loss of jobs.

Evolving over several years, Super (1990) defined fourteen propositions concerning the role of abilities and interests, self-concepts, life stages, and person-situation interactions in his theory. Super’s propositions are:

1. People differ in their abilities and personalities, needs, values, interests, traits, and self-concepts.

2. People are qualified, by virtue of these characteristics, each for a number of occupations.

3. Each occupation requires a characteristic pattern of abilities and personality traits, with tolerances wide enough to allow both some variety of occupations for each individual and some variety of individuals in each occupation.

4. Vocational preferences and competencies, the situations in which people live and work, and, hence, their self-concepts change with time and experience, although self-concepts, as products of social learning, are increasingly stable from late adolescence until late maturity, providing some continuity in choice and adjustment.

5. This process of change may be summed up in a series of life stages (a maxicycle) characterized as a sequence of growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, and decline, and these stages may in turn be subdivided into the fantasy, tentative, and realistic phases of the exploratory stage and the trial and stable phases of the establishment stage. A small (mini) cycle takes place in transitions from one stage to the next or each time an individual is destabilized by a reduction force, changes in type of manpower needs, illness or injury, or other socioeconomic or personal events. Such unstable or multiple-trial careers involve new growth, reexploration, and reestablishment (recycling).

6. The nature of the career pattern-that is, the occupational level attained and the sequence, frequency, and duration of trial and stable jobs-is determined by the individual’s parental, socioeconomic level, mental ability, education, skills, personality characteristics (needs, values, interest trails, and self-concepts), and career maturity and by the opportunities to which he or she is exposed.

7. Success in coping with the demands of the environment and of the organism in that context at any given life-career stage depends on the readiness of the individual to cope with these demands (that is, on his or her career maturity), Career maturity is a constellation of physical, psychological, and social characteristics; psychologically, it is both cognitive and affective. It includes the degree of success in coping with the demands of earlier stages and substages of career development, and especially with the most recent.

8. Career maturity is a hypothetical construct. Its operational definition is perhaps as difficult to formulate as is that of intelligence, but its history is much briefer and its achievements even less definitive. Contrary to the impressions created by some writers, it does not increase monotonically, and it is not a unitary trait.

9. Development through the life stages can be guided, partly by facilitating the maturing of abilities and interests and partly by aiding in reality testing and in the development of self-concepts.

10. The process of career development is essentially that of developing and implementing occupational self-concepts. It is a synthesizing and compromising process in which the self-concept is a product of the interaction of inherited aptitudes, physical makeup, opportunity to observe and play various roles, and evaluations of the extent to which the results of role playing meet with the approval of superiors and fellow (interactive learning).

11. The process of synthesis of or compromise between individual and social factors, between self-concepts and reality, is one of role playing and of learning from feedback, whether the role is played in fantasy, in the counseling interview, or in such real-life activities as classes, clubs, part-time work, and entry jobs.

12. Work satisfactions and life satisfactions depend on the extent to which the individual finds adequate outlets for abilities, needs, values, interests, personality traits, and self-concepts. They depend on establishment in a type of work, a work situation, and a way of life in which one can play the kind of role that growth and exploratory experiences have led one to consider congenial and appropriate.

13. The degree of satisfaction people attain from work is proportional to the degree to which they have been able to implement self-concepts.

14. Work and occupation provide a focus for personality organization for most men and women, although for some persons this focus is peripheral, incidental, or even non-existent. Then other foci, such as leisure activities and homemaking, may be central. (Social traditions, such as sex-role stereotyping and modeling, racial and ethnic biases, and the opportunity structure, as well as individual differences, are important determinants of preferences for such roles as worker, student, leisurite, homemaker, and citizen.) (pp. 206-208)

Super’s (1990) propositions are of particular importance in this study as an explanation of why and how adolescents use information about self as they cycle through the exploration life stage. Super pointed out that interests are learned and as such are manifestations of self-concept. Information about self is needed in the development of self-concept, and it is important that this information be available to the student at the time and in the amount needed. Super pointed out that “if a student or an adult has given little thought to occupational choice or to the unfolding of a career, he or she is not likely to be ready to use aptitude, ability, interest, or value data in planning the next stage or steps in a career” (p. 244). Super prescribed a plan for career exploration, and it called for guiding the adolescents through the exploratory life stage by facilitating the maturing of abilities and interests, by aiding in reality testing, and in the development of self-concepts.

Super (1957) also laid out measures of career maturity that provide a yardstick for determining an individual’s progress through the life stages. Super’s five developmental tasks occurring within the exploratory stages are: a) concern with vocational choice, b) increased vocational information, comprehensive and detailed planning, c) increasing consistency of vocational choice, d) the crystallization of traits relevant to vocational choice, and e) increasing wisdom of vocational preferences.

Stephen R. Richards, EdD
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Theories of Interest

This is the fifth article in a series of articles that will discuss the literature on the predominant career theories; history of and theory behind interest inventories; a discussion of the prominent interest inventories; the best use of interest inventories in the career development process; conceptual additions applicable to the study of interest inventories; literature that has focused on career indecision in adolescents; and educational interventions with additional focus placed on middle schools. All of these articles come from dissertations by Virginia Robinson Richards, EdD, and Stephen Randall Richards, EdD, both copyrighted 1998. These articles are presented as a quick refresher for professional guidance counselors, an introduction to these theories for the non-professional, and as a starting point for students of the many disciplines related to career development theory. The bibliographies are purposely missing. If you choose to copy our work (shame on you), you will at least have to go to the library to find the work and maybe touch the covers of these works. We appologize for the non-academic format, but in a blogging forum it is not possible to keep the work as originally presented.

Parsons (1909) was first to identify the importance of one’s interest in selection of an occupation as he wrote about the relationship between how people felt about their occupational activities and their personal adjustment in the selection of an occupation. Parsons suggested self study as the first step in career exploration. By noting the need for one to know one’s self, Parsons gave rise to thought about ways to accomplish the task of accurately measuring interests. This review of literature will discuss prominent interest inventories, theories behind interest inventories, and the best use of inventories in the career development process. The first section presents major theories of interests. The second section will examines theories of career development. In the third section, the history of interest inventories will be reviewed. The fourth section reviews prominent interest inventories. In the fifth section, I will review literature concerning the use of interest inventories to affect change in those completing the inventories. In the final section, studies that address the relationship of career exploration to such independent variables as gender, race, and age will be reviewed.

Theories of Interests
Most theories of interests include 5 determinants that vary in importance depending on how theoreticians envision the career development or career choice process (Hansen, 1984). The five determinants of interest include:
1. Interests arise from environmental and/or social influences.
2. Interests are genetic.
3. Interests are personality traits.
4. Interests are motives, drives, or needs.
5. Interests are expressions of self-concept.

Developers of theories of interest see these determinants as either dynamic or static factors. Those who lean toward the dynamic point of view believe vocational interests are the product of many psychological and environmental influences and emphasize the effect of socialization and learning on the development of interest. Theorists who hold the static point of view believe interests are genetically predetermined. A third, less dominant, viewpoint is held by those who work to define an organizational structure for vocational interests without addressing the process by which interests are developed. Holland (1985) was an example of a theorist who was more concerned for what interests are and developing a relational framework for the interests he measured than for how the interests were developed.

Theories of Vocational Interests
Roe (1956) and Holland (1985) presented theories of vocational interest that accounted for the structure of interests. Holland’s early work was not concerned so much with the development or acquiring of interest, but rather with the organizational structure and relationship of interests. Hanson (1984) noted that studies of the structure of vocational interests have accomplished three functions: (a) refinement of existing inventories, (b) development of new inventories or sets of scales, and (c) accumulation of construct validity data to identify psychological traits measured by interest inventories.

Early in the history of interest measurement, factor analysis was used with Strong’s data to reduce the number of interest variables, to aid in the identification of interest factors, and to aid in the formulation of theories about interests (Hansen, 1984). During a study conducted by Guilford, Christensen, Bond, and Sutton (1954) using new tests they had developed, factor analyses of the Strong Vocational Interest Blank was verified. Guilford et al.’s study is credited with affecting Roe’s (1956) and Holland’s (1959) theories because they found seven interest factors: (a) mechanical, (b) scientific, (c) social welfare, (d) aesthetic expression, (e) clerical, (f) business, and (g) outdoor. Guilford et al.’s (1954) early work supported a belief that vocational interest factors were genuine psychological entities.

Roe (1957) was interested in the relevance of occupations to basic needs and considered Maslow’s (1948) list of basic needs in her study, including several family relationship factors (Roe & Lunneborg, 1990). Attempts to confirm Roe’s theory have not been successful (Brown, 1990a; Hagen, 1960), but the work she did in describing the structure of interests has been of considerable use (Hansen, 1984). Roe (1956) defined two dimensions of interests. First, she described a group dimension that focused on work activities based on eight interest factors or categories: (a) service, (b) business contact, (c) organization, (d) technology, (e) outdoor, (f) science, (g) general cultural, and (h) arts and entertainment. Next, she described a level dimension as being divided into 6 categories according to level of responsibility. Roe defined the level of responsibility as not only the number and difficulty of the decisions to be made, but also the number of different kinds of problems that must be addressed. Level also takes into consideration capacity of performance and skill differentiations at each level.

Stephen R. Richards, EdD
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