Quantifying and interpreting group differences in interest profiles

Patrick Ian Armstrong, Nadya A. Fouad, James Rounds, Lawrence Hubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on group differences in interests has often focused on structural hypotheses and mean-score differences in Holland's (1997) theory, with comparatively little research on basic interest measures. Group differences in interest profiles were examined using statistical methods for matching individuals with occupations, the C-index, Q correlations, and Euclidean distance measures. Profile similarity across U.S. racial-ethnic groups was evaluated with students and employed adults who completed the General Occupational Themes (GOT) and Basic interest scales (BIS) of the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). Obtained results suggest that profile shape varies systematically by gender and employment status, with the Euclidean distance measure being more effective than Q correlations for representing these differences and Q correlation more effective than the C-index. Group differences in interest profiles may lead to men and women receiving differential feedback on the fit between their interests and different careers, which may contribute to gender differences in the pursuit of careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Career Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Human sex differences
  • Interest assessment
  • Multidimensional scaling
  • Profile similarity
  • Racial-ethnic group differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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