College Major Selection and Personality Variables as Determinants in Lifelong Career Decision-Making
Imperial, Sharon E.
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The choice of a college major and subsequent vocational selection is important because it has lifelong consequences. This study recruited 61 Midwestern undergraduate university students in order to examine the relationship between their college major selection and twelve personality variables. Specifically, it was expected that the scores of Extraversion, Investigative, Social, Enterprising, and individual General Self-Efficacy would yield significant differences between the two major fields of science and humanities. The participants were administered the NEO Five-Factor Inventory-3, Holland Self-Directed Search, and General Self-Efficacy Scale. Participants were also asked to report their individual choice of college major. All 61 majors reported were then categorized according to whether they belonged in the science or humanities field. Analyses of all data included twelve independent samples t-tests conducted on the participants’ mean scores on the two personality inventories and the GSES. Significant differences between the fields of science and humanities were found for the three Holland RIASEC types of Investigative, Social, and Enterprising. These findings contribute to the body of research support for Holland’s theory of vocational choice that individuals select vocations which are compatible with their personalities.