Stability of vocational interests over 4-Year, 8-Year, and 12-Year intervals

Jane L. Swanson, Jo Ida C. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The present study investigated long-term stability of vocational interests in a sample of 409 subjects tested with the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII; Hansen & Campbell, 1985) as college freshmen in 1974 and retested 12 years later in 1986. In addition, 204 of the subjects also were tested 4 years after their freshman year. Interest stability was determined by computing a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, for each subject, between her or his test and retest SCII profiles. Results indicated that (a) there was a remarkable degree of interest stability over all three time intervals; (b) individual differences in stability also were apparent over the three intervals; (c) the stability coefficients were significantly related to self-ratings of stability, and were significantly higher than correlations based on randomly matched profiles; and (d) five methods of operationally defining stability produced somewhat different results in terms of characteristics of the coefficient distributions; however, the different methods resulted in similar rank-orderings of individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-202
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1988

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was based on the first author’s dissertation, submitted in partial fulfillment for a doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota, under the supervision of the second author. The research was funded in part by grants from the Graduate School and Computer Center at the University of Minnesota; the first author received additional support from the E. K. Strong, Jr., Memorial Fellowship and the Eva 0. Miller Fellowship. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jane L. Swanson, Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901.

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