Assessment of personality and vocational interests: redundant versus complementary

Fox, Marilla
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The value to vocational counselors of using a broad perspective in assessing personality was examined. The overlap between two models of personality was explored. The first model was Holland's (1985a) vocational personality approach, most commonly assessed in terms of vocational interests. The second model was the Big Five factor approach (Digman, 1990), which purports to be a comprehensive model of personality. Particular attention was paid to the Neuroticism factor's role in the overlap between the models and its relationship to issues that come up in vocational counseling. Data were collected from 286 female and 204 male college students, using the 1994 Strong Interest Inventory (Harmon, Hansen, Borgen, & Hammer, 1994) and the Adjective Check List (Gough & Heilbrun, 1983) marker scales developed by John (1990). The psychometrics of John's ACL marker scales for the Big Five factors were examined and it was concluded that the marker scales were an adequate but not optimum measure of the factors. Canonical correlation analysis of the data found the overlap of the two models involved four independent sources of covariation in female participants and three in males. However, the redundancy indices showed that each of the models accounted for less than 10% of the variation in the other model. The Neuroticism factor did not enter into the overlap between the models in the female sample but did in the males. Multiple regression analyses were used to test hypotheses about how the five factors should predict the Holland vocational personality themes. Limited support was found for predicting each of the Holland themes with more than one of the five factors. Prediction improved slightly when the clarity of vocational personalities was controlled. The simple correlations were not significant between the Neuroticism factor and inconsistency or differentiation ofvocational personality. Only the Neuroticism scale's correlation with dissatisfaction with females' college majors was significant. It was concluded that assessment of both vocational interests and personality factors such as neuroticism can deepen the understanding of vocational counselors and their clients. It was also recommended that further research focus on the gender differences in the links between personality and vocational interests.