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DOI 10.1007/s10775-008-9141-0

of Greek university students

Katerina Argyropoulou

Received: 22 November 2006 / Accepted: 2 February 2008 / Published online: 10 June 2008

! Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Abstract The aim of this study was to describe the hexagonal person-environment

fit for the Holland personality types for a Greek sample of 156 university students.

The statistical analysis followed both exploratorysuch as multidimensional

scalingand confirmatory methodssuch as covariance structure models. These

methods were employed in an exploratory sense, in a descriptive attempt to portray

Hollands hexagon structure for this Greek sample. The findings of this study are

comparable to the overall theory and other international samples, and also serve as a

first psychometric testing of the Self-Directed Search in a Greek population.

echantillon detudiants universitaires grecs. Le but de cette etude etait de decrire le

degre dajustement personne-environnement selon le mode`le des types de personnalite

de Holland dans un echantillon grec de 156 etudiants universitaires. Lanalyse statis-

tique a combine des methodes exploratoirescomme le multidimensional scalinget

confirmatoirescomme des mode`les de structure de covariances. Ces methodes ont ete

utilisees dans une perspective exploratoire, en vue de depeindre descriptivement la

structure de lhexagone de Holland de cet echantillon grec. Les resultats de cette etude

sont comparables a` la theorie generale et a` ce que lon trouve sur dautres echantillons

internationaux; ils constituent egalement le premier testing psychometrique du

Self-Directed Search sur une population grecque.

Stichprobe griechischer Studenten. Das Ziel dieser Untersuchung war die

Bestatigung der Anwendbarkeit des hexagonalen Person-Umwelt-Konzepts der

Personlichkeitstypen nach Holland fur eine Stichprobe von 156 griechischen

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology,

University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, Ilissia, 157 84 Athens, Greece

e-mail: dsidirop@psych.uoa.gr

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112 Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125

z.B. multidimensionale Einschatzungenals auch bestatigende Methodenwie

z.B. Kovarianz-Strukturmodelle. Diese Methoden wurden in einem erforschenden

Sinn angewendet, in einem beschreibenden Versuch zur Darstellung von Hollands

Hexagonal-Struktur fur diese griechische Stichprobe. Die Ergebnisse dieser

Untersuchung sind vergleichbar mit der zu Grunde liegenden Theorie und anderen

internationalen Ergebnissen, und sie dienen als erste psychometrische Testung der

SDS (Self-Directed Search) bei einer griechischen Gruppe.

Estudiantes Universitarios Griegos. La finalidad de este estudio fue describir el

ajuste entre la persona y el ambiente de los tipos de personalidad de Holland

(modelo hexagonal) en una muetra de 156 estudiantes universitarios. Paea el

analisis estadstico se aplicaron metodos tanto exploratorioscomo el escalado

multidimensionalmultidimensional scalingcomo confirmatorioscomo los

modelos estructurales de co-varianza. Estos metodos se usaron en un sentido

exploratorio, con la intencion de describir la estructura hexagonal en esta muestra

griega. Los resultados de este estudio son comparables con la teora general y con su

aplicacion a otras muestras internacionales, y sirven tambien como una primera

evaluacion psicometrica de la Busqueda Auto-Dirigida (Self-Directed Search) en

una poblacion griega.

It has been over 40 years since Holland first proposed his theory of vocational

choice, which continues to be widely accepted by the career guidance counselors

(Herr, Cramer, & Niles, 2004). Hollands (1997) theory of vocational interests

postulated the existence of six broad personality types and environmental models

that describe peoples personalities and the environments in which they are

exhibited. In Hollands theory the six vocational personality typesRealistic (R),

Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C)

(RIASEC)compose the points of an hexagon. Along the hexagon continuum, the

types that are closer to each other are more alike than those that are more distant or

opposite.

A number of researchers have recently extended the investigation of Hollands

theorised structure of interests to different populations (Einarsdottir, Rounds,

Egisdottir, & Gerstein, 2002; Fouad & Dancer, 1992; Haverkamp, Collins, &

Hansen, 1994). In this assessment researchers have attempted to determine whether

Hollands six types are identifiable and whether the observed ordering and shape of

the RIASEC configuration is comparable. According to Fouad and Dancer (1992)

interest structure is not universal and may be influenced by culture or ethnicity.

Rounds and Tracey (1996) also suggested that culture system can influence the

strength and interrelations of preferences.

Even though Hollands model has intrigued the interest of Greek scientists who

are involved in vocational assessment and guidance (Panagiotou, 2003;

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Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125 113

there is lack of relevant research in Greece. The study of vocational interest

structure in a social and cultural setting that is different from the United States has

practical and theoretical implications for vocational guidance in Greece. Testing

Hollands theory in Greece may shed light on some culture-bound assumptions and

can also be informative about the possible influence of social, cultural, and

contextual factors in career choice and development (Hesketh & Rounds, 1995).

Hollands model would be an excellent springboard (Furnham, 2001) in the

framework of developing and refining their own ideas, tackling the difficult

problems of measuring person-environment structure and understanding its

consequences in another culture outside the United States.

Structural studies of vocational interests in the United States have supported the

invariance of Hollands model across gender (Anderson, Tracey, & Rounds, 1997;

Tracey & Rounds, 1993). No consistent gender differences were detected in the

cross-cultural meta-analysis of Hollands theory (Tracey & Rounds, 1996). Gender

differences in the structure of vocational interests have yet to be evaluated in

Greece, since no such attempt has been made, at least in terms of structure.

The aim of this study was to closely picture the hexagonal person-environment fit

for the personality types that Holland has operationalised (Holland, 1985) for a

Greek sample of undergraduate and graduate university students. This approach

relied on both exploratory methods for the hexagon circumplex but also on

statistical fit testing of the theory through structural equation modelling addressing

the questions of which is the circumplex structure of the personality types for this

Greek sample. The findings of the present studyeven the confirmatory models

should be regarded as first stage exploratory attempts, and should be comparable to

the overall theory and other international samples in order to serve in describing

psychometric characteristics of the Self-Directed Search (SDS) in a Greek

population.

Method

Sample

(53.8%) and 72 at the postgraduate level of their studies (46.2%). The undergrad-

uate students median age was 21 years; for the postgraduate students, though,

median age, as expected, was higher (26 years). Approximately 60% of the sample

were females (94 females, 62 males), which is close to the current gender

representation in Greek Universities.

Undergraduate students were mainly (78.6%) studying Pedagogy and Philosophy

their future employment being high-school teachersand 21.4% were studying

Psychology. Postgraduate students were attending either the School Psychology M.Sc.

course (47.2%) or the Counselling and Career Guidance M.Sc. course (52.8%). A cross-

tabulation of the level of studies (undergraduate or postgraduate) and students gender,

resulted in 52 female students (33.3%) at the undergraduate level, and 42 (26.9%)

123

114 Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125

were males at the undergraduate level, and 30 (19.2%) were males at the postgraduate

level of studies.

Instrumentation

The SDS consists of four scales named Activities, Competencies, Occupations and

Self-estimates of Traits, all designed to evaluate each of six personality types. The

first scale consists of 11 items with Activities for each of the six subclasses based on

the six personality types for which respondents indicate whether they like or dislike

them. The second scale refers to 11 Competencies with the respondents indicating

the activities they can perform well or at a competent level. The third scale refers to

14 for which the respondents identify those occupations that appeal to or interest

them. Finally, based on their general experience, the respondents evaluate

themselves for 12 traits (two per personality type) on a 7-point scale. All four

scales provide the necessary information to calculate the total score for each one of

the six personality types and evaluate the magnitude of the three highest total scores

resulting into the three-letter Holland code.

Estimates of internal consistency indicated (Anastasi & Urbina, 1997) that the

range of summary-scale Cronbach a coefficients varies by age and gender, but in

general these estimates range from .81 to .92 for females and from .81 to .93 for

males, regardless of age. Testretest reliabilities (three-to four-week intervals) for

high school students have yielded a median reliability coefficient of .81 for boys and

a median coefficient of .83 for girls.

For use in this project the authors translated the SDS into Greek and a back

translation was carried out by a qualified native English speaker translator.

The Greek version of the SDS was administered during regular class hours to all

participants in this study. After the administration the participants were given a

short debriefing about the purpose of the study and thanked for their participation.

The statistical analysis followed two main axes: multidimensional scaling and

structural equation modeling through covariance structure testing. These were

preceded by data transformations to achieve normality and by internal consistency

assessment to verify the suitability of the final six SDS scores for analysis. The

multidimensional scaling techniques were used in order to arrive at an interpretable

and comparable system of personality types for the overall sample, and for females

and males separately. This was supported by trigonometric transformations of the

coordinates reached by the solution in each model (Veligekas, Mylonas, & Zervas,

2007). Covariance structure analysis was then employed to test for four different

structures of the six SDS personality types, comparing them to the null model and to

the data driven structure. Circulant models (Tracey, 2000) and Predigers hypothesis

(Prediger, 1982) were tested through this structural equation modelling attempt in

an exploratory sense, since formation of hypotheses within the present study should

obviously be avoided.

123

Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125 115

Results

Several analyses were conducted to compute the internal consistency indices for the

current data, first in respect to each individual personality type across the three out of

four subscales and then within each of these subscales (Table 1). With analyses

performed on each of the three subscales separately for each of the six types, 18 (six

types by three subscales) internal consistency coefficients were computed with an

average coefficient of .71 (ranging from .61 to .85). When each of the three SDS

subscales was examined separately for each personality type, average internal

consistency for all 36 items of each personality type reached .85 but also some lower

reliability coefficients were observed. The drop for the separate subscales might

be an indication of the necessity of aggregating the information from all subscales in

order to arrive at stable measures. Even more, this aggregate of four subscales is not

unique for the Greek version of the SDS but it is considered, internationally, a

standard procedure when the SDS is employed (Einarsdottir et al., 2002).

Table 1 Internal consistency indices for subscale scores and sets of summated scores

Realistic (11 itemsSubscale 1) .74 All 36 (R) itemsa .88

Realistic (11 itemsSubscale 2) .75

Realistic (14 itemsSubscale 3) .77

Investigative (11 itemsSubscale 2) .66

Investigative (14 itemsSubscale 3) .78

Artistic (11 itemsSubscale 2) .63

Artistic (14 itemsSubscale 3) .85

Social (11 itemsSubscale 2) .64

Social (14 itemsSubscale 3) .71

Enterprising (11 itemsSubscale 2) .63

Enterprising (14 itemsSubscale 3) .83

Conventional (11 itemsSubscale 2) .70

Conventional (14 itemsSubscale 3) .61

a

z-score transformations applied to the raw data

Note: Subscale 1 = Activities, Subscale 2 = Competencies, Subscale 3 = Occupations, Subscale

4 = Self estimates of traits

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116 Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125

The final six personality type aggregates, as described previously, also included

information from each respondents self-evaluations; thus, two more scores were

included in the final sum per personality type. For this procedure there is a metric

problem. The first three subscales of the SDS are scored, item by item, by the

respondent on a yesno basis. This binomial level of measurement is different

from the ordinal level used for the self-evaluation fourth subscale (scores ranging

from one to seven for each self-evaluation). Although arithmetically the maximum

values seem compatible, the respondents may rate themselves only twice for each

type in the self-evaluation subscale. This may introduce some form of construct bias

(van de Vijver & Leung, 1997), or some alternative treatments confounding

variable (Christensen, 1988). However, these self-evaluations are an important part

of the original assessment procedure and cannot be neglected altogether. For each

personality type separately all correlation coefficients were computed between each

self-evaluation and the first three subscale scores for the respective personality

types. The average correlation was .40 (ranging from .34 to .47). For this reason,

and for reasons of comparability, the self-evaluation information was included into

the final personality type scores and the analysis.

Descriptive statistics were computed for each personality type to test for deviation

from normality for the six distributions. With two exceptions (the Realistic type score

and the Social type score) the distributions followed the normal distribution (the

Kolmogorov-Smirnov z criteria did not reach statistical significance). For the Social

personality type, the distribution was slightly negatively skewed, deviating slightly,

but at a significant level from the normal distribution. For the Realistic type the

students mean was rather low in comparison to the other five personality type means.

This was verified through an analysis of variance with repeated measures design, by

contrasting a-priori the Realistic type to the other five types. All comparisons (for 1 and

155 degrees of freedom) were statistically significant at the .001 level and the g2 values

ranged from .33 to .88, showing systematic differences in the students preferences for

the Realistic type in comparison to the other five types. These differences can be

statistically attributed to the positively skewed distribution and can also be interpreted

in respect to the specific sample preferences. Additionally, skewness itself could be

attributed to the characteristics of the sample used in this study.

To remedy for the skewness problems in the data the summated scores were

transformed for the Realistic and the Social personality types. For the Realistic type, a

square root transformation was used. For the Social type scores the cubic scores for

152 casesfour cases were excluded as outlierswere computed. Reducing

accordingly the number of cases for further analysis to 152. The transformed scores

for the Social personality type followed the normal distribution. Final of all six scores

were transformed into z-scores and then again to T-scores, for interpretability reasons.

Before proceeding to the second stage of the analysis, the intercorrelations for the

six personality types were computed (Table 2) on the transformed data (T-scores).

As expected, the correlations for adjacent type in Hollands hexagonal model (e.g.

Artistic and Social types) were reasonably high. However, some more rather high

correlations, such as the Investigative-Conventional one were present and this could

be an indication of differential group functioning producing these correlations and

required further investigation in the analysis.

123

Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125 117

Table 2 Intercorrelations among all subscale aggregate T-scores, and initial mean scores (raw, non-

transformed) for the six personality types

(N = 152) R I A S E C

I .54 21.67 .34 .30 .16 .16

A .15 .30 23.90 .42 .35 .11

S .05 .24 .33 37.99 .54 .38

E .21 .33 .21 .45 22.32 .68

C .30 .39 -.11 .14 .39 17.53

Notes: (1) Above the diagonal, Hollands correlations (computed via metric adjustments by the authors,

assuming N = 156)

(2) Following a Fisher-z transformation of both observed (current) and Hollands correlation indices (and

assuming N = 156, with a lower N being a difference suppressor), a direct comparison of each pair or

correlations resulted into z criteria. Bold numbers in the table denote differences between the observed

correlations in this sample and correlations as reported by Holland. Overall, the Conventional type

correlations with the I, S and E types differ significantly for the two sets of correlations

In order to explore the underlying structure, at least two general methods of analysis

can be followed: exploratory factor analysis and/or multidimensional scaling. Direct

application of exploratory or confirmatory factor analysis models would test the

latent traits characterising the six personality types, but this was not the main aim of

the analysis in this study. The main interest lies in exploring the relative positions of

the types in the structure. Additionally, factor analysis would be inappropriate for

such a limited (less than 10) number of measures (Kline, 1993). To circumvent these

limitations, multidimensional scaling was employed both under an exploratory and

also a confirmatory fashion to first describe the relative position of each of the six

personality types in respect to the other five and then test for the expected

dimensions of the circumplex, as depicted by expected multidimensional scaling

solutions and related proposed models (Prediger, 1982; Tracey, 2000). This method

of analysis was expected to yield a solution which would be comparable to the

theoretical and empirical description given by Hollands theory and also would be in

accordance with the methods used by Holland himself during his theory formation.

Exploratory stage

transformations of the six summated personality scores (T-scores). The distance

matrix was analysed for the total sample and also for males and females separately.

These results, in respect to their stimuli relative coordinates, are plotted in Fig. 1.

For the overall multidimensional solution (total sample), Youngs Stress = .003 and

R2 = .99. These statistics were hardly surprising given the strength of the theoretical

model and also the small number of measures in respect to the number of

dimensions requested. For the female sample only (N = 93), Youngs Stress = .003

123

118 Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125

r

Realistic

1 A

Artistic i R

Investigative I

a

Conventional

S c

s E e

-1 Social C

Enterprising

-2

-2 -1 0 1 2

Upper case typeface: Females Lower case typeface: Males

Fig. 1 Two-dimensional scaling solutions for the six personality types (all subscale aggregate T-scores),

overall and by gender

and R2 = .99. For the male sample only (N = 59), Youngs Stress = .0003 and

R2 = .99. Both male and female personality structures seem to generally follow the

overall pattern; nevertheless, there are discrepancies between the two genders as

depicted for their trigonometric transformations on the circle periphery.

The main reason for trigonometric transformations in this study was that

exploratory multidimensional scaling solutions often suffer from interpretation

problems, specifically when the dimensions do not immediately portray constructs

or latent traits. For example, one cannot easily suggest that the first dimension

represents a contrast between a group of three personality types (namely Realistic,

Investigative, and Artistic) and another group (namely Conventional, Enterprising,

and Social), since such a contrast does not seem to be easily readable in the initial

two-dimensional plot (Fig. 1); in fact, under this eye-balling procedure (Tracey,

2000), any contrast between two groups of personality types does not readily reflect

a specific latent factor, since the theoretical presupposition of placement of all

personality types on a hexagon continuum, is not clearly met. A possible way to

circumvent this problem is to constrain the model by estimating the measures

relative position regardless of their distances from the central (0, 0) point on the

axes. Thus, we would use only the information given by their orientation in regard

to this central point. The angles formed by this orientation (the coordinates on the

two axes), were computed for each personality type through an arctangent

transformation and were then transformed to degrees on the circumference, a

method of analysis also successfully employed by Mylonas (in Veligekas et al.,

123

Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125 119

C C

c .30

-.11 R

.39 r R .54

.39 i I

.21 I

e .05

.33

E

.15

.15 .24

E .30

.45

s

S

.21 A

S .33

a

A

transformation) and Pearson correlations for the six personality types, overall and by gender. Key:

Outside the circumference: total sample (n = 152), Inside the circumference: upper case typeface:

females (n = 93); lower case typeface: males (n = 59)

2007). These degrees, for the total sample (and also for males and females

separately), were plotted in Fig. 2. This figure partially enhances interpretation of

the relative position of the six personality types on the circumference in respect to

constructs involved. Also, by rotating these relative positions in respect to an

arbitrary point (for Fig. 2, the Realistic position) the problem of reversed scaling on

the axes could be circumvented, and all groups under consideration (overall,

females, males) become comparable in respect to their two-dimensional scaling

solutions. The correlation coefficients between all pairs of personality types are also

reported in Fig. 2, for the total sample only.

The overall solution seems to generally follow Hollands model, but there is

some difference; the Realistic and the Investigative types are very closely linked,

whereas one would expect some distance between them, as is the case for the

remaining four personality types. Also, for both genders the pattern remains

approximately the same with small differences in the relative distance of some

personality types (e.g., the Conventional-Enterprising-Social subsystem is rather

loose for the female sample). The main finding at this stage is obviously the

Realistic-Investigative subsystem of homogeneous measures, with the two

personality types closely linked also when each gender is examined separately.

123

120 Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125

To explore the main finding further, confirmatory methods were employed, although

it should be kept in mind that the nature of this study still remained exploratory. The

methods employed have been previously tested in direct relation to Hollands

hexagon (Prediger, 1982; Rounds & Tracey, 1993) and in a more general sense (e.g.

Hofstee, de Raad, & Goldberg, 1992) where factor representations of circumplex

models have been dimensionally tested in a confirmatory sense. Tracey (2000) has

also summarised a large number of confirmatory and other methods when analysing

circumplex structures. Some of the suggested-available options were implemented

in this study as well, namely testing for Predigers models in respect to Hollands

hexagon (Rounds & Tracey, 1993) and also for the circulant and Geometric

Circulant models as described by Tracey (2000). The statistical procedures and their

results are described as follows and in Table 3.

In all, six models were tested. As a point of reference or benchmark model, the

null model with all six personality types considered as independent factors was

tested as the first model. The statistical fit associated was as expected extremely

poor. A data driven model (as suggested by exploratory factor analysis results for

this studys measures) was also tested, although just as another point of reference

because of its ipsative nature. For this data-driven model to be formulated, principal

component analysis and maximum likelihood estimation exploratory factor analyses

were carried out initially, applying orthogonal rotation of the axes to both models.

The maximum likelihood solution was clearer but the principal components solution

seemed closer to the present data and to the original theoretical model with two sets

of adjacent types (C-R-I, S-E-C) loading on factors one and two respectively and

with a third bipolar factor including A and C types in contradistinction. This PCA

three-factor solution was considered useful for comparison with the theoretical

models to be tested and resulted in rather acceptable levels in terms of the Normed-

Fit index and the Tucker-Lewis index, although RMSEA and v2 significance levels

were still far from satisfactory.

The circulant model hypothesis (Tracey, 2000) tests for adjacent types are

related, while the two steps away types are less correlated and the opposite types in

the circumplex are even less correlated. For this model, tested third in order, the

statistical fit was poor and the RMSEA index was very high. The Normed-Fit index

Model v2 df RMSEA NFI TLI

2. Data driven (as computed via PCA, varimax) 51.38 7 .20 .75 .72

3. Circulant 78.17 11 .20 .60 .73

4. Geometric circulant 79.97 10 .22 .56 .69

5. Predigers two-factor (constrained) 44.95 5 .23 .79 .64

6. Predigers two-factor (unconstrained) 44.00 5 .23 .79 .65

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Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125 121

was too low, but the Tucker-Lewis index showed considerable improvement from

the null model. The Geometric Circulant model hypothesis (Tracey, 2000) tests for

the parameters of the circular model was proportional and linearly related to the

distance around the circumference of the circle. The adjacent types are considered

highly correlated, and in the case of the sextant, 3 times more strongly than the

opposite types, where the two-steps away types are twice as strongly correlated than

the opposite types. For this model, the statistical fit was still poor and the RMSEA

index was very high. The Normed-Fit index was too low and the Tucker-Lewis

index showed less improvement from the null model than the previously tested

circulant model.

Predigers two factor model (Rounds & Tracey, 1993) was also tested for the

present data, for which the theoretically assumed coordinates on a two-dimensional

solution are employed to define the two dimensions to be tested. Specifically,

Predigers two-factor model assumes that a first bipolar factor includes I, A, E and C

types, with E and C bearing negative signs, and that a second factor includes R and

S types in contradistinction with I and C loading less strongly on the same factor on

the R side, and with A and E loading less strongly on the same factor on the S

side. Using the coordinates as described by Rounds & Tracey we defined the two

models to be tested under the Prediger hypothesis, one with constrained loading

values and one with unconstrained ones. The constrained model yielded the best

statistical fit in terms of the NFI index, although RMSEA was still very high and the

TLI index did not imply the best levels of departure from the null model. The

unconstrained model proved almost identical in terms of statistical properties.

Overall, Predigers two-factor constrained model seems to present the best fit-in

respect to all models tested- to the data of our study.

To conclude, two models seem to fit our data better than the other models in the

analysis: the data-driven 3-factor model and the constrained two-factor Predigers

model. For the latter it should be noted that no general factor was assumed or tested.

For the data-driven model, it is obvious that it is the closest to the structure in the

present data, but being of ipsative nature it cannot be considered an acceptable

solution but only a point of reference for the next best statistical fit, which seems to

be Predigers two-factor constrained model. For this model, a trade-off in the NFI

and TLI indices seems to exist, but the overall v2 index does not rise extremely with

the loss of the 2 degrees of freedom (the ratios of the v2 over df are 7.34 and 9.00,

respectively), and RMSEA is not very much higher, remaining at approximately the

same levels of around .20, as observed for most models tested.

Finally, two separate models (using Predigers two-factor constrained structure)

were tested separately for males and for females. Unexpectedly enough, the Male

structure was statistically insignificant (v2 reached only 9.36 and for 5 degrees of

freedom was not significant), although RMSEA just approached acceptable levels

(.12). Still, Normed-Fit index was high (.85) and the Tucker-Lewis Index in respect

to improvement (compared to the null model) was very high (.96). Then, the

respective indices for Females only were not so rewarding, since v2 reached 19.11,

and for 5 degrees of freedom it was significant at the .01 level, RMSEA was still far

from acceptable (.17). Still, Normed-Fit index was .74 and the Tucker-Lewis Index

in respect to improvement (compared to the null model) was .87. Such an

123

122 Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125

exploratory stage, and then a further multivariate analysis of variance design

between genders showed that a significant multivariate effect was present; for the

Hotellings Trace criterion, F(6, 145) = 3.057, p \ .01, g2 = .11. Univariate differ-

ences were present only for the Realistic personality type with males reporting much

higher scores (a T-score of 52.3, as compared to the female score of 48.5).

Discussion

The results of this study support the validity of Hollands model in Greece, showing

that the structure of vocational interests in samples of Athens University students is

similar to the structure found in US population. These results also indicate that a

two-dimensional circular order representation of Hollands RIASEC types is

applicable in Greek samples. Interpreting the outcomes, the two-dimensional

circumplex structure as described by Prediger seems to best depict the six types

interrelations in this Greek data set approach. The results support the continuing use

of Hollands theory as a conceptual framework for vocational and educational

counselling in Greece, having important practical implications since they show that

Hollands model is applicable to university student populations in Greece.

The results of this study reveal some inconsistencies in the shape of the

hexagonal model (e.g. the Realistic and the Investigative types are very closely

linked, whereas one would expect some distance between them, as is the case for the

remaining four personality types). The same pattern of relative distance for Realistic

and Investigative types was also indicated in a previous unpublished study

(Touloumakou, 2005) in a sample of Greek undergraduate university students. This

result might possibly be due to Greek cultural parameters or to the demographic

and economic constraints on choice (Furnham, 2001, p. 9). This, in turn, could

affect the occupational interests and perhaps the structure of interests for a group

population in Greece. This means that the demands of the Greek labour market, job

security and developments in technology result in values, interests, skills and

behaviours relevant to those two types (I and R) being perceived as similar and

adjacent in content.

The results are in line with Haverkamp et al. (1994) as well as with the findings

by Ryan, Tracey, and Rounds (1996). As Rounds and Tracey (1996) reported in a

structural meta-analysis of 76 samples from 18 countries, non U.S. samples had a

poorer statistical fit with Hollands model than did U.S. samples. Fifteen of the

eighteen countries failed to follow the model and potential moderators such as

cultural values did not explain model differences between countries. Tracey and

Rounds raised questions about how well the circumplex-hexagonal model describes

interest structure for non-U.S samples. The current research also confirms Hollands

(1992) assumptions that the hexagonal model often resembles a misshapen

polygon more than a regular hexagon in real-world data (Holland, 1992, p. 119)

and also supports Myors (1996) findings, which indicate that if the term misshapen

polygon can be made precise, then new-order relations between the types can be

determined.

123

Int J Educ Vocat Guidance (2008) 8:111125 123

(Furnham, 2001). As Furnham supported (p. 21), all measures are sensitive to

subtle gender and cultural differences of different populations examined. This

means that the hexagonal structure becomes more sensitive when more populations

are put under study. The present results suggest that culture may influence the

interrelationships between the types and underline the importance of studying not

only the differences that exist between the members of the culturally different

groups but also within the members of the same cultural group (Sidiropoulou-

Dimakakou, 2003).

The differences between men and women could be attributed to the stereotypes

existing in Greek society as well as to the way both girls and boys are raised.

Children according to their gender are raised differently, and therefore go through a

different procedure of career planning (Sidiropoulou-Dimakakou, 2002). In

practice, the results of this study stresses the need of formulating a theory for the

career development of women (Sidiropoulou-Dimakakou, 1996). However, the

structure of RIASEC types in Greece needs to be further researched since gender

differences in Holland types do not seem to hold true according to a meta-analysis

by Rounds and Tracey (1993). The specific findings of the present study might also

be due to the fact that the samples are not matched-pairs ones (Anderson et al.,

1997), and that the sample size is relatively small and might yield some instability

in the results. Along with this limitation, some other restrictions should be noted

such as the limited range of the age of the participants, as the sample is drawn only

from a university students population. Furthermore, a more heterogeneous sample

(in terms of fields of study) might reveal different structures and should be

considered for future research.

Despite the above limitations, the current results support the continuing use of

Hollands theory as a conceptual framework for vocational and educational

counseling in Greece. Rayman and Atanasoff (1999) argue that the theory is simple,

has face validity, provides an understandable organizational framework, and is

transferable into practice. The results of this study have implications for vocational

interest theories. Exploring Hollands theory in Greece and other countries in the

framework of a cultural system, may initially provide support for Hollands

personality types application to these cultures, assuming that we can accept some

limited alteration to the theorys statistical properties because of cultural

differences. Further cross-cultural research of vocational interest structure may

open up new paths in understanding social, cultural and contextual factors that

influence vocational interests and choice.

Acknowledgements The authors would sincerely like to thank the four anonymous reviewers and the

Journal Editor for their directions and highly constructive comments during the revision procedure.

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