Person-Centred Research in Vocational Psychology: An Overview and Illustration

  • Harsha N. PereraEmail author
  • Danette Barber
  • Peter McIlveen


This chapter provides an introduction to person-centred research approaches in vocational psychology with a specific focus on modern latent variable mixture approaches to examining unobserved population heterogeneity. First, we provide a general overview of the concept of unobserved population heterogeneity as a crucial assumption that underlies person-centred analytic approaches and discuss the way in which latent variable mixture models overcome the limitations of traditional person-centred analytic techniques. We then discuss the utility of person-centred strategies in vocational psychology research via the consideration of empirical applications of mixture analyses. Next, we provide an introduction to one of the more widely-used person-centred approaches—Latent Profile Analysis (LPA)—in vocational psychology, drawing comparisons of these approaches with more traditional person-centred analytic techniques as well as the common factor model. We demonstrate the LPA procedure using data on the RIASEC vocational interests, and briefly consider implications of the LPA model for practice. It is our hope that this non-technical introduction to person-centred approaches will foster further interest in applying these methods to test crucial assumptions of homogeneity and heterogeneity in sample data typically used in vocational psychology research and practice.


Latent variable mixture models Mixture models Latent profile analysis Person-centred Vocational interests Interest profiles Heterogeneity 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationUniversity of NevadaLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia

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