Could Differentiation and Consistency of Interests Serve as Career Maturity Indicators of Elementary School Children?

Iva Černja, Toni Babarović, Iva Šverko


Holland postulated that interests should become more differentiated and more consistent as career maturity increases, but previous studies provided ambiguous results on relations between these constructs. This paper presents two studies conducted on samples of students in higher grades of Croatian elementary schools which were 10 to 15 years old (Nstudy 1 = 522; Nstudy 2 = 497). The first study was conducted online and Pictorial and Descriptive Interest Inventory (PDII) and Test of Occupational Knowledge (TOK) were applied. The second study was based on a paper and pencil assessment and Occupational Preference Scale OPS-96 and TOK were used. Both studies showed coherent results. Career maturity systematically increased with the age of respondents and female students demonstrated a higher level of career maturity. Differentiation and consistency of interest did not increase with age, while girls expressed a higher level of differentiation and consistency than boys. Career maturity correlated weakly and positively with interest differentiation, but not with consistency. It was concluded that differentiation and consistency should not be considered as measures of career maturity, and it is recommended that specific career maturity measures are used in career counselling of elementary school students.


career maturity; RIASEC; interests; differentiation; consistency

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