Personality style and ego development as related to occupational choice

Diane Garfinkle, Pace University


Occupational choice is an important decision that can affect one's mental health. According to Klumbies (1967), almost a quarter of 1500 therapy patients studied, described their work setting as the source of their psychological difficulties. In this study, the attempt was made to examine how more global, complex, interacting aspects of psychological functioning affect occupational choice. Personality style and developmental stage orientation were considered to be such global aspects of one's individual psychology. The sample consisted of 173, mainstreamed 11th and 12th graders. Results revealed that certain personality types are drawn to certain occupational areas. Science and Technology subjects were found to have significantly higher scores on the Introversive personality scale than Arts and Entertainment subjects. Trends approaching significance supported Anne Roe's theory on "people oriented occupations" and "object oriented occupations". There was no overall significant relationship between occupational choice level and ego development level, but a trend approaching significance indicated that the greatest percent of Post-Conformists (which is the highest ego development stage) was in the highest occupational level. Other analyses were also performed. Results of an Anova on Millon's adolescent Expressed Concerns scale and ego development level revealed that Pre-Conformists had significantly higher scores on several of the Expressed Concern scales than either the Conformist or Transitional group, but not significantly higher than the Post-Conformist group. This can be interpreted to mean either that Pre-Conformists and Post-Conformists may have problems that manifest themselves differently, but are in similar areas or that Post-Conformists are more self aware and are more able to report their inner experiences and perceptions frankly. Conformists have been found to deny problems and elevate their virtues. Occupational choice style was also examined in relationship to ego development level. Although there was no overall significant difference between groups, there was a trend for Conformist subjects to more often make single occupational choices than multiple occupational choices. Additional analyses were performed to examine how the interaction of personality and ego development level together affect occupational choice. In this analysis, ego development was not found to have a significant overall effect on occupational group classification. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) ftn*Originally published in DAI Vol. 53, no. 4. Reprinted here will corrected bibliographic information.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Occupational psychology|Personality

Recommended Citation

Garfinkle, Diane, "Personality style and ego development as related to occupational choice" (1992). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9216518.



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