Holland in Iceland revisited: An emic approach to evaluating U.S. vocational interest models

Sif Einarsdóttir, James Rounds, Rong Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An emic approach was used to test the structural validity and applicability of Holland's (1997) RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional) model in Iceland. Archival data from the development of the Icelandic Interest Inventory (Einarsdóttir & Rounds, 2007) were used in the present investigation. The data included an indigenous pool of occupations and work-task items representing Iceland's world of work that had been administered to a sample of 597 upper secondary school students. Multidimensional scaling analysis and property vector fitting using Prediger's (1981) work-task dimensions were applied to the item responses to test if the RIASEC model could be identified. The results indicated that a 4-dimensional solution better explains the interest space in Iceland than Holland's 2-dimensional RIASEC representation. The work-task dimension of People-Things and the Sex-Type and Prestige dimensions were located in the 1st and 2nd dimensions of the multidimensional scaling solution, but Data-Ideas, a dimension critical to the RIASEC model, was not. The 3rd and 4th dimensions did not correspond to any dimensions previously detected in structural studies in the United States and seem to be related to specific ecological, cultural, and political forces in Iceland. These results demonstrate the importance of selecting representative indigenous occupations and work tasks when evaluating the RIASEC model. The present study is an example of the next step in a comprehensive cross-cultural research program on vocational interests, an emic investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Cross-cultural
  • Emic
  • RIASEC model
  • Vocational interests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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