Individual differences and their implications in educational and occupational outcomes
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date28/06/2023
Aranda Diaz, Alicia
This thesis includes four studies focused on the role of Individual Differences in educational and occupational outcomes. These four studies were aimed to bridge gaps in the academic literature and to devise novel avenues for research. Chapter 1 introduces the concept and history of Individual Differences research. Chapter 1 also includes a summary of the milestones in Intelligence research history. Chapter 2 includes our first study, where we used two waves from a British longitudinal study to explore the changes in student Self-Competence and Task-Value during the primary to secondary school transition according to student’s verbal abilities. We conceptualized change as Difference Scores and as Residuals but none offered a reliable measure of change. In Chapter 3, we used the same sample to study the degree to which change in grades between ages 7 and 11 mediated the relation between verbal ability and changes in occupational aspirations between ages 11 and 14. However, we did not find evidence supporting the mediating role of grades change. Chapter 4 summarizes the highlights of personality history and frames our methodological approach to personality measures. In Chapter 5, we used Cohen’s d and Mahalanobis D to study personality differences at facet and domain level between four groups: heterosexual men, heterosexual women, homosexual men, and homosexual women. We found that homosexual participants did not always score as their heterosexual counterparts. Often, personality scores of homosexual participants shifted toward those of their opposite sex -e.g. homosexual men scoring more similar to heterosexual women than heterosexual men. In Chapter 6, we studied to which degree personality sex differences were feeding into the gendered nature of the labor market, this is, men tend to work in jobs related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), while women work in Non-STEM related occupations. We found little evidence supporting this hypothesis. However, there was some evidence suggesting that personality differences between occupational orientations (i.e. Prediger’s dimension of people vs. things) do resemble personality sex differences. Finally, Chapter 7 summarizes the key findings of these studies. Further implications and future research directions are also discussed in this last chapter.