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Title:The within-person variability of vocational interests
Author(s):Phan, Wei Ming Jonathan
Director of Research:Rounds, James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rounds, James
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Drasgow, Fritz; Newman, Daniel A; Nye, Christopher; Liu, Yihao
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Vocational interest, Experience sampling
Abstract:Much of what is known about the stability of Vocational interests is from a between-person perspective (e.g., rank-order stability). This dissertation investigates the within-person variability of vocational interests. Three studies employ experience sampling methods to assess the daily fluctuations of RIASEC interests. These studies make three main contributions. First, I apply a whole trait perspective to understanding interests: interests can be stable at the between-person level yet vary at the within-person level. In so doing, I examine whether the within-person operationalization of interests affects the nomological relationship within interest domains (i.e., structural validity) and with personality traits of extraversion and openness. This analysis provides evidence that conceptualizing vocational interests as a density distribution is a viable and appropriate way of assessing a person’s interest. Second, G-theory is advanced as a better, more nuanced, and precise method of variance decomposition compared to other methods of variance decomposition. Beyond parsing variance into within- and between-person, G-theory estimates variability that arises due to differences in item selection and administration. Finally, I investigate a potentially better test of Holland’s (1997) congruence hypothesis. Rather than the current approach that matches individuals’ RIASEC activity preferences to their occupation (which consists of a heterogeneous mix of activities), I investigate the daily measurement of individuals’ RIASEC activity preferences matched to the daily work activity they actually do, an activity-interest congruence. Overall, results show that applying whole trait theory to vocational interests is an appropriate operationalization of interests that does not contradict what is currently known about interests at the between-person level. Rather, vocational interests exhibit non-trivial levels of within-person variability across all three studies. Results did not support the ESM test of the congruence hypothesis. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Issue Date:2018-07-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Wei Ming Jonathan Phan
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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