Vocational Interests and Performance

A Quantitative Summary of Over 60 Years of Research

Christopher D. Nye, Rong Su, James Rounds, Fritz Drasgow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Despite early claims that vocational interests could be used to distinguish successful workers and superior students from their peers, interest measures are generally ignored in the employee selection literature. Nevertheless, theoretical descriptions of vocational interests from vocational and educational psychology have proposed that interest constructs should be related to performance and persistence in work and academic settings. Moreover, on the basis of Holland's (1959, 1997) theoretical predictions, congruence indices, which quantify the degree of similarity or person-environment fit between individuals and their occupations, should be more strongly related to performance than interest scores alone. Using a comprehensive review of the interest literature that spans more than 60 years of research, a meta-analysis was conducted to examine the veracity of these claims. A literature search identified 60 studies and approximately 568 correlations that addressed the relationship between interests and performance. Results showed that interests are indeed related to performance and persistence in work and academic contexts. In addition, the correlations between congruence indices and performance were stronger than for interest scores alone. Thus, consistent with interest theory, the fit between individuals and their environment was more predictive of performance than interest alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-403
Number of pages20
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

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Keywords

  • grades
  • performance
  • person-environment fit
  • vocational interests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Vocational Interests and Performance : A Quantitative Summary of Over 60 Years of Research. / Nye, Christopher D.; Su, Rong; Rounds, James; Drasgow, Fritz.

In: Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 7, No. 4, 01.07.2012, p. 384-403.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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