An enhanced examination of Holland's consistency and differentiation hypotheses

Terence Tracey, Bart Wille, Michael R. Durr, Filip De Fruyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The research support for Holland's concepts of consistency and differentiation has been equivocal (Nauta, 2010). To provide a reexamination of these concepts, a new method of operationalizing Holland's constructs of consistency and differentiation using the cosine fit function to the RIASEC score profile is proposed. The relation of these new indices to career certainty, congruence and the moderation of the congruence-certainty relation were examined in a sample of 118 college students (study 1). Support was found for the superiority of the cosine fit definitions of consistency and differentiation over the traditional representations. The cosine fit indices were further examined in a second study on 167 adults examining interest stability over 15. years. The cosine fit indices of consistency and differentiation were related to both occupational stability over 15. years and career satisfaction. The results suggest that the concepts of differentiation and consistency may still have merit but only with more exact methods of specification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-247
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Circumplex
  • Consistency
  • Differentiation
  • Holland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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