Relation of occupational knowledge to career interests and competence perceptions in Italian children

Jessica E. Rohlfing, Laura Nota, Lea Ferrari, Salvatore Soresi, Terence J.G. Tracey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The relations of differential occupational knowledge with interests and competence perceptions in children as well as how these relations were moderated by gender and grade were examined in this study using an Italian sample. Data were collected from samples of elementary school and middle school children (N = 539). The Inventory of Children's Activities-Revised (ICA-R; Tracey & Ward, 1998) was used to assess children's interest and competency perceptions in various activities associated with the Holland's RIASEC types. The Occupational Knowledge Scale (OKS) was created for this study, and consisted of a representative sampling of occupational titles to which children indicated their knowledge. Hierarchical regression results indicated a relationship between knowledge, interests, and competence perceptions in children. With regard to overall knowledge, no relationship was found between general knowledge and either grade or gender. More specific examination of the type of knowledge as it varied across the dimensions of People-Things, and Data-Ideas demonstrated that there appeared to be a specific pattern relating interest, gender, and grade to knowledge of occupations. For knowledge of people relative to things occupations, higher interest, higher grade level, and being female predicts stronger knowledge of people occupations. It was also found that interest in ideas predicts stronger knowledge of ideas occupations, and being male predicts stronger knowledge of high prestige occupations. Generally, competence perceptions did not have a unique relation with one's knowledge of People-Things, Ideas-Data, or Prestige; however, girls who reported higher competence had greater knowledge of ideas occupations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-337
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Children's interest
  • Competence perceptions
  • Occupational knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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