Stability of Vocational Interests among High School Students
Mullis, Ronald L., Mullis, Ann K., Gerwels, Deborah, Adolescence
Holland (1973/1985) theorized that career choices are largely a function of personal factors (e.g., personality traits, self-knowledge, occupational knowledge) and environmental factors (e.g., family, school). In making career choices, individuals seek the type of environment that matches, or is congruent with, their personality type. Holland's construct of consistency, or stability, in the expression of vocational themes and basic interests was the primary focus of the present study.
The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII; Hansen & Campbell, 1985) has long been used to identify career interests. Lunneborg (1977) provided evidence (concurrent and predictive validity) of the SCII's ability to ascertain present and future occupational membership. Naylor, Care, and Mount (1986) reported good concurrent validity between Holland's career typology and the SCII's occupational themes.
The stability of career interests continues to receive the attention of researchers and practitioners (Campbell, 1966; Hansen, 1984; Hansen & Stocco, 1980; Lunneborg, 1977; Prawat, Jones, & Hampton, 1979; Swanson & Hansen, 1988), particularly in regard to high school students, who have a variety of options. Hansen and Stocco (1980) found the SCII to be a useful measure of stability when testing adolescents and young adults at two time periods, three years apart. For their high school sample, coefficients ranged from -.21 to .92 for the Basic Interest scales and -.31 to .96 for Occupational Themes. The young adult sample yielded coefficients of -.28 to .96 for Basic Interests and .17 to .97 for Occupational Themes. Similarly, Swanson and Hansen (1988) found that college students were highly stable in their career interests over twelve years, and that these interests were significantly related to self-ratings of stability.
There remains a need to substantiate these earlier findings and to further validate Holland's theory and measurement of career interests. Aside from predicting future choices, understanding more about the career preferences of younger adolescents can assist educators and counselors in designing programs and instructional strategies that better meet the needs of this age group. For example, knowing developmental patterns of career preferences can help professionals expose male and female adolescents to a broader range of options. This continues to be an important issue because of inconsistent findings with regard to the stability of sex differences in vocational interests. Diamond (1975) has argued that because people increasingly see traditional sex roles as arbitrary, sex differences in career interests may be diminishing. In contrast, Hansen (1984) has concluded that, despite heightened consciousness, sex differences in vocational interests have remained stable.
In addition to the relevance of gender in emerging career preferences, Holland (1962) suggested that families, particularly their work patterns and social position, have a profound impact on their children's career …
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Publication information: Article title: Stability of Vocational Interests among High School Students. Contributors: Mullis, Ronald L. - Author, Mullis, Ann K. - Author, Gerwels, Deborah - Author. Journal title: Adolescence. Volume: 33. Issue: 131 Publication date: Fall 1998. Page number: 699+. © 1999 Libra Publishers, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Group.
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