Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Lisa M. Larson


Multiple theories regarding vocational choice have suggested that personality may be meaningfully related to vocational interest and vocational self-efficacy (Barrick, Mount, & Gupta, 2003; Larson and Borgen, 2006; Larson, Rottinghaus, & Borgen, 2002; Nauta, 2007), as well as the underlying mechanism (Hansen et al., 2011). One limitation in the literature of understanding the linkages between personality traits and interest and self-efficacy may be that personality traits have only been conceptualized from two dominant models, namely the Big Five (Costa & McCrae, 1992) and the Big Three (Tellegen, 2000). As discussed by Larson (2011), the use of additional models of personality may lead to greater understanding of key factors of vocational interest and self-efficacy. Using the constructs of the behavioral activation system (BAS) and behavioral inhibition system (BIS) as defined by Gray’s (1990) Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) of personality, the purpose of this study was to determine if BAS and BIS related to vocational interest and self-efficacy. Data was collected through an online survey, and a sample of 265 college students with an average age of 19.62 years old (SD = 2.81) from a large Midwestern university was obtained. Correlations between vocational interest, as measured by the Strong Interest Inventory (Donnay, Thompson, Morris, & Schaubhut, 2005), confidence, as measured by the Skills Confidence Inventory (Betz, Borgen, & Harmon, 2005), and BIS and BAS, as measured by the BIS/BAS scale (Carver & White, 1994) were calculated. BAS was found to be meaningfully correlated with both enterprising interest and confidence, as well as global liking of vocational activities. BIS was found to be negatively correlated with indifferent responses and realistic interests. Limitations, implications, and future areas of research are discussed.


Copyright Owner

Dustin Forrest Baker



File Format


File Size

111 pages

Included in

Psychology Commons