AN INVESTIGATION OF PERSON-ENVIRONMENT CONGRUENCE
McMurray, Marissa Johnstun
Gottfredson, Gary D.
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ABSTRACT Title of Dissertation: AN INVESTIGATION OF PERSON-ENVIRONMENT CONGRUENCE Marissa Johnstun McMurray, Doctor of Philosophy, 2012 Dissertation directed by: Professor Gary D. Gottfredson This study tested a hypothesis derived from Holland's (1997) theory of personality and environment that congruence between person and environment would influence satisfaction with doctoral training environments and career certainty. Doctoral students' (<italic>N</italic> =292) vocational interests were measured using questions from the Interest Item Pool, and they provided ratings of their satisfaction with training and certainty about their career choices. Professors (<italic>N</italic> = 106) described the doctoral training environments of these students using the Position Classification Inventory (PCI). Additional classifications of the training environments were accomplished using the Environmental Assessment Technique (EAT) and the Dictionary of Holland Occupation Codes-Third Edition (DHOC). Traditional congruence indexes revealed only small correlations of P-E congruence with satisfaction of training environment and no significant correlations of P-E congruence with career certainty. Congruence indexes based on environmental measurement using the PCI were not better predictors of satisfaction or career certainty than were indexes based on the EAT or DHOC. In addition to tests using traditional congruence indexes, hierarchical linear models tested for interactions of interests and environmental characteristics in the prediction of satisfaction and career certainty. Results indicate that students with high Realistic or Social vocational interests whose doctoral training programs had high Realistic or Social (respectively) demands were more satisfied with their training environment then similar students who were in incongruent departments. This outcome occurred when either the PCI or the EAT was used as the measure of the environment, but no significant person-environment interactions were found for the prediction of career certainty. Supplementary analyses examined other potential predictors of student's satisfaction with their training department. The number of years in the doctoral program was negatively correlated with satisfaction, and having fellowships was positively correlated with satisfaction with the doctoral training program. Three student characteristics were significantly correlated with career certainty. The number of years that a student had been in a doctoral department and the number of milestones they had reached in their program were negatively correlated career certainty, while having a fellowship was positively correlated with career certainty.