Date of Award

8-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Marla Peterson

Committee Members

Teresa A. Hutchens, Sky Huck, P. Gary Klukken, Bill Calhoun

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among college students’ response styles on the Occupations section of the Strong Interest Inventory (SII), as indicated by the “Like,” “Dislike,” and “Indifferent” percent indexes, and their scores on the Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI) and the Beck Depression Inventory – Second Edition (BDI-II). The SII is a career interest inventory that measures a person’s level of interest across a wide range of areas including occupations and leisure activities. When presented with an item on the SII, an individual indicates whether he or she likes, dislikes, or is indifferent to that particular occupation or activity. The CTI measures dysfunctional thinking in career problem solving and decision making. The higher a person’s scores on the CTI, the more dysfunctional are his or her career thoughts. The BDI-II is a self-report instrument for measuring the severity of depression in adolescents and adults. The higher a person’s scores on the BDI-II, the more severe is his or her level of depression. This study also explored gender differences among the aforementioned variables. The participants were 170 college students who had enrolled in a First Year Studies course during Fall 2003. This study was primarily correlational in design, and the statistical methods used were the Pearson product moment correlation and regression analysis.

Results indicated that there was a significant positive relationship between the BDI-II and the CTI (r = .405, p < .01). There was a significant positive relationship between the CTI total scores and the Occupations “Like” percent index of the SII (r = .184, p = .016), and significant negative relationship between the CTI total and the Occupations “Dislike” percent index (r = -.194, p = .011).

There was a significant negative relationship between the Decision Making Confusion subscale of the CTI and the Occupations “Dislike” percent index of the SII (r = -.155, p = .044). In addition, there was a significant positive relationship between the Commitment Anxiety subscale and the Occupations “Dislike” percent index (r = -.206, p = .007). Analyses revealed that there were no significant gender differences between the BDI-II and the CTI total score. However, females scored significantly higher than males o the Commitment Anxiety subscale of the CTI (Mm=51.96, Mf=55.50, p = .022). Results also indicated that males endorsed more items as “Indifferent” on the SII higher than females (Mm=25.93, Mf=21.43, p = .036). Analyses revealed that the BDI-II, the CTI total and subscales, and gender do not significantly interact to predict the response style of students on the Occupations Scale of the SII.

It was concluded that career counselors and counseling psychologists should consider the influence of a student’s career thoughts and depression when interpreting the SII and throughout the career decision-making process. Implications for practitioners and university training programs, and directions for future research were discussed.

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