What is it about?

This research investigates how the vocational interests of employed couples may influence their experiences of work-family conflicts and work-family enrichment. Drawing from Holland’s theory, which identifies six basic vocational interest types: Realistic (hands-on tasks), Investigative (scientific exploration), Artistic (creative pursuits), Social (helping others), Enterprising (leadership and persuasion), and Conventional (structured activities), the study explores whether these interests can predict the internal conflicts partners face when balancing their work and family responsibilities. Additionally, the study examines the effects of similarity in interests between partners, suggesting that couples with aligned vocational interests might manage work-family balance more effectively. The findings indicate that one’s own or partner’s Investigative, Enterprising, Conventional, and Social interests may play a role in reducing work-family conflict for both men and women in heterosexual couples. On a positive note, having diverse vocational interests can enhance functioning in both work and family domains, leading to what’s known as work-family enrichment.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

An intriguing finding from this study is that certain combinations of social interests within couples provided protective effects against strain-based work-family conflict for both partners. These interests often promote skills for service provision and collaboration, which may also benefit private contexts. Further research is needed to determine if different occupations are linked to varying levels of work-family balance challenges or work-family enrichment. Previous studies suggest that couples with similar professional choices often enjoy positive well-being outcomes. However, this may not apply to partners who only share similar vocational interests. Considering vocational interests levels could be a valuable avenue in couple counseling when addressing work-life balance concerns.


Selecting a vocation isn't just about one's professional and career trajectory; it can also significantly impact family life and possibly the well-being of one's partner. Our interests guide us to long-term work environments, influencing the roles we take and the larger systems we join. These systems offer shared work incentives and obstacles based on our professions, not just individual jobs. This research highlights the importance of vocational counseling to help balance work and family roles for both women and men.

Katarina Banov Trošelj
University of Rijeka

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Actor, Partner and (Dis)Similarity Effects of Vocational Interests on Work-Family Interface, Journal of Career Assessment, April 2024, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/10690727241247184.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page