Vocational interest profiles: profile replicability and relations with the STEM major choice and the Big-Five

Perera, Harsha N. and McIlveen, Peter (2018) Vocational interest profiles: profile replicability and relations with the STEM major choice and the Big-Five. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 106. pp. 84-100. ISSN 0001-8791


Normative circular and dimensional models are the dominant structures for the organization of vocational interests in the scientific literature. However, it is increasingly recognized that not all individuals' interest configurations can be adequately represented by normative models. Adopting a person-centered, multidimensional perspective on vocational interests, the current study seeks to identify distinct profiles of interests based on RIASEC data that integrate interest configurations that align with and deviate from normal circular and dimensional structures. We also test the replicability of the profile structure, examine the likelihood of STEM degree choice as a function of profile membership, and investigate core personality predictors of interest profile membership. Latent profile analyses revealed six profiles of vocational interests, representing distinct combinations of the RIASEC interests (i.e., social-dominant, disinterested, high realistic-dominant, investigative-dominant, ambivalent, and conventional-dominant), which replicated entirely across independent subsamples. Furthermore, the profiles differed on the likelihood of STEM degree choice, with the conventional-dominant profile evincing the highest probability of choice and the social-dominant profile evincing the lowest probability of choice. Finally, results revealed that the Big-Five personality traits were differentially related to interest profile membership, largely in line with vocational interest theory. The present findings constitute novel evidence that a person-centered framework for the representation of interest configurations can accommodate both people's adherence to and deviations from normative structures for the organization of interests. The findings also underpin the use of all available interest information on individuals, rather than reliance on the two or three highest interest dimensions, to inform educational and vocational decision-making.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version embargoed until June 2021 (36 mths), in accordance with the copyright policy of the Publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2018 05:40
Last Modified: 14 May 2018 01:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: vocational interests, interest profiles, STEM career choices, academic and career choices, latent profile analysis, profile invariance, profile similarity
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130305 Educational Counselling
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930103 Learner Development
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2017.11.012
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33420

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