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Educational Self-Direction and Personality

Karen A. Miller, Melvin L. Kohn and Carmi Schooler
American Sociological Review
Vol. 51, No. 3 (Jun., 1986), pp. 372-390
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095308
Page Count: 19
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Educational Self-Direction and Personality
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Abstract

We examine the relationship between a central aspect of schooling--educational self-direction--and students' personalities. The data are from a small but substantially representative nationwide sample of white students in the seventh grade through the fourth year of college. We separately assess the reciprocal effects of educational self-direction and two non-cognitive aspects of personality--self-directedness of orientation and sense of distress. As hypothesized, educational self-direction positively affects self-directedness of orientation and negatively affects distress; distress, in turn, negatively affects educational self-direction. We also evaluate the complex interrelationships of educational self-direction, cognitive functioning, self-directedness of orientation, and distress. Educational self-direction affects all three facets of personality, its impact on cognitive functioning being in substantial part indirect, through self-directedness of orientation and distress. The findings have implications for our understanding of work in school and its link to work in the labor force.

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