The Multidimensional Structure of Interest

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Jael Marjan Draijer
Arthur Bakker
Esther Slot
Sanne Akkerman


There is increasing attention for interest as a powerful, complex, and integrative construct, ranging in appearance from entirely momentary states of interest to longer-term interest pursuits. Developmental models have shown how these situational interests can develop into individual interests over time. As such, these models have helped to integrate more or less separate research traditions and focus the attention of the field more on the developmental dynamics. This, however, also raises subsequent questions, one being how development can be understood in terms of interest structure. The developmental models seem to suggest that development occurs roughly along the line of six dimensions, which we summarize as the dimensions of historicity, value, agency, frequency, intensity, and mastery. Using an experience sampling method that was implemented in a smartphone application, we prompted 94 adolescents aged 13 to 16 (60% female) to rate each interest they experienced during two weeks on these six dimensions. A latent profile analysis on 1247 interests showed six distinct multidimensional patterns, indicating both a homogeneous and heterogeneous structure of interest. Four homogeneous patterns were indicated by more or less equal levels on all six dimensions in varying degrees, and contained 86% of the interests. Two heterogeneous patterns were found, describing variations of interest that are interpreted and discussed. These results endorse the complexity of the construct of interest and provide suggestions for identifying different manifestations of interest.

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How to Cite
Draijer, J. M., Bakker, A., Slot, E., & Akkerman, S. (2020). The Multidimensional Structure of Interest. Frontline Learning Research, 8(4), 18–36.


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