Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Robert A. Williams

Second Advisor

Robert J. Farrow

Third Advisor

Sheridan McCabe


Problem. This research study tested the hypothesis that significant statistical relationships obtain for junior college and college freshmen and sophomore students, between the cognitive style measures field independence/dependence, "preference for structure," Harvey's Cognitive Style Factors--and occupational factors measure by the UNIACT Interest Inventory.

Method. Four paper and pencil tests measuring three cognitive styles were administered to 213 Michiana area and junior college and college freshmen and sophomores. The Group Embedded Figures Test was used to measure field independence/dependence while the two major measures of "preference for structure" cognitive styles were the VRTTAB average, and the FRTTAB average scores of the Verbal Reasoning Test and the Figure Recognition Test. Harvey's Cognitive Style Factors were measured by means of the Personal Opinion Scale.Occupational preferences were measured by the UNIACT Interet Inventory. Sixty specific research hypotheses and eight of the nine linear hypotheses were tested by zero-order correlation and stepwise-regression analysis, respectively. The ninth general linear hypothesis was tested by means of canonical-correlation analysis.

Findings. Results of the study indicated that field independence was statistically significantly related to two of the eight interest patterns, those of Science and Technical interest. A statistically significant correlation between field-independence and Creative Arts interest appeared. "Preference for structure" was found to be only minimally related to UNIACT Interests. Harvey's Cognitive Factors yielded by far the most statistically significant relationships both considered separately as well as collectively. Canonical-correlation analysis indicated the significant correlation between variables in the first set of cognitive styles and in the second set of UNIACT interests.

Conclusions. Although these research findings appear somewhat limited in scope they nevertheless seem to provide sufficient evidence to establish a significant relationship between the selective cognitive-style measures used in this study and general occupational preferences as measured by the UNIACT Interest Inventory. The overall study appeared supportive of the literature and yielded a number of interesting and meaningful relationships on cognitive style preference variables and offered support for the further study of these two important classes of variables.

Subject Area

College students, Vocational interests

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