Holland's theory of vocational personalities and work environments applied to students majoring in family and consumer sciences
Mumme, Deborah Cade
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A review of literature revealed a paucity of research on students' decisions to major in family and consumer sciences. Most of the research concentrated on the factors influencing students to major in family and consumer sciences as well as on marketing and recruitment strategies. Very few studies were based on career development theory. The purpose of the present study was to apply Holland's theory of vocational personalities and work environments to undergraduate students enrolled in family and consumer sciences at one major southwestern university. In addition, demographic and background data about the students were provided. The study was based on responses from 159 freshmen enrolled in an introductory seminar course and 163 juniors and seniors enrolled in a capstone seminar course. The students responded to a Basic Information Questionnaire, developed by the researcher and the Self-Directed Search, a career assessment inventory based on Holland's theory of personalities and environments interaction (RIASEC) model. According to Holland, individuals can be characterized by their resemblance to each of the six personality types: Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C). Evidence of the application of Holland's theory indicated that the students majoring in family and consumer sciences were identified by three personality types (Social, Enterprising, and Artistic). The majority of the students were compatible with their self-summary score on the Self-Directed Search. The self-summary scores of the students in the 11 majors were congruent with their occupational codes (Holland's Dictionary of Educational Opportunities). Some majors were found to be more congruent than others. Demographic and background variables revealed no significant effect on the level of congruence for students in the study. Two-thirds of the students majoring in family and consumer sciences had been enrolled in secondary home economics. Sixty-four percent of the sample had previous volunteer and work experiences related to their major. The study and its application of Holland's theory has practical implications for recruitment, advisement, instruction, and retention of students. Findings also indicated that additional career development research needs to be conducted in family and consumer sciences programs.