Early stages of careers: Using vocational interests to predict person-environment fit at university
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
18th Biennal EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
According to Holland (1997), vocational interests are significant predictors of vocational choices and outcomes. Considering that making vocational choices might be one of the biggest challenges in the life of adolescents, it seems of special importance to understand this process and to identify underlying factors at different stages. The present study aims to identify factors related to interest-congruent vocational choices at an early career stage, namely the choice of study majors at university.
A longitudinal study was carried out in which 584 high school students, all about to graduate soon, filled in a questionnaire; two to four years later, these students, all of them then enrolled in university, again filled in a questionnaire.
Linear regression was carried out to identify variables from the first measurement point (in high school) that are able to explain a significant amount of variance in interest-major congruence at the second measurement point (at university). The results mostly agree with Holland?s theory, showing that interest consistency, vocational identity, and interest-aspiration congruence positively predict interest-major congruence. However, while interest-aspiration congruence has the strongest relation, the differentiation of interests in occupational fields shows no relation to interest-major congruence. Controlling for personality traits and cognitive abilities results in very little change.
The results speak for school and career counseling programs, which focus on exploring vocational aspirations and establishing person-aspiration fit. They, however, show that not all measurements are useful in that context, especially the differentiation of interests which, contrary to expectations, was not related to interest-major congruence.