Anne Roe’s theory-Advantages and Disadvantages


These needs are probably learned early from the way a given family fulfils each individual’s needs. Roe explores this further by using Maslow’s need hierarchy to explain that an individual will first fulfil a basic need e.g. of physiological needs before thinking or striving for a higher-order need like education for its own sake.

In addition, this approach indicates that the type of child-rearing pattern the individual experiences in childhood influences the kind of interaction that he will ultimately establish with others. In other words, these influences may result in the individual wanting to interact with people or shy away from them and so towards other things.

For example, a child might be raised in a family in which the parents over-protect him or in one that makes excessive demands on him. In this kind of environment, an individual’s needs are met, depending on whether he behaves in prescribed ways or not. When the child grows older, this method of satisfying his early needs conditions him to choose an occupation in which he needs, as well as depends on, other people’s rewards and feedback for satisfaction.

Workers in the performing Arts (e.g. musicians) are such examples and their occupation is one in which the child is rejected or neglected. They may take either a physical or emotional form. When such a child grows up, he or she moves towards things i.e. non-persons, to find his gratification since he or has not known or enjoyed it from people. His contact with people will be very limited. When the individual is ready to choose, he is likely to veer towards scientific or mechanical interests as a result of his early experiences.

Finally, an individual may be accepted completely and made to have a feeling of belonging in the family. He is treated as an important member among equals just as in a democratic family where his independence is encouraged. With this background, such an individual is likely to be able to balance his personal and non-personal interests with the need to remain isolated from people or to seek intense approval from them.

Thus, he will end up choosing either people or non-people oriented jobs because he can cope comfortably with either type of job. The emotional acceptance of the child thus leads to people-oriented jobs while rejecting and neglecting child-rearing practices lead to thing-oriented jobs.

Within these two broad categories of job orientations (i.e. people and thing), roe managed to construct a number of jobs to fit into each. For example, in this oriented category are found jobs in the sciences, technology or outdoor. On the other hand, service, business contact jobs, organization, general culture, arts and entrainment jobs are people-oriented. Which means that for roe, it is easy to fit an individual into either of these two job orientations based on the kind of early childhood experiences he has had?

However, not all individuals in either category reach similar levels of attainment in their jobs. For instance, several levels of jobs exist for each job. These include, from the topmost, the professional and managerial, small business, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled levels. What determines the level one attains, up to a point, however, is one’s genetic endowments but especially one’s aptitudes, as well as environmental experiences, play a very important role. These experiences will be different for individuals, depending on one’s culture and personal experiences.

Apart from these areas of emphasis, Roe agrees that traits of interest, ability and achievement are also important in choosing a job so all these factors should be taken into consideration in helping an individual to choose an occupation. But her major emphasis seems to be on need satisfaction. Unfortunately, research has not been consistent on the effect of early Childhood practices on adult occupational choice.

The problem stems largely from the fact that few adults can accurately recall their childhood experiences let alone the details and whether both parents’ reaction to them were similar. The approach did not consider the inconsistencies often inherent in child-rearing interactions in a family where one parent may be permissive and the other rigid at the same time.

Although the relation between child-rearing and job choice has not found positive research support, the field-level proposition has received much support. Thus, it is important to ensure that an individual has the aptitude to attain a given level in a broad field of occupations as well as has experience which would enhance the possibility of achieving that level.

TASK OF THE COUNSELOR: Roe’s approach does not provide the same systematic procedure as the trait and factor approach offer in helping an individual to choose a job. However, it points to the need for the counsellor to explore the needs of his client and make sure that this occupational goal meets that needs. Besides, the counselor needs to be aware of how to classify occupations.

Furthermore, he needs to remember that there are various levels of jobs as well as corresponding educational requirements for them. Thus, at any level that an individual needs to work, the counselor has to make sure that the individual needs to work, the counsellor has to make sure that the individual has the relevant educational aptitude for success in that job.

Finally, the counsellor should be alerted to the possibility of early childhood relationship with parents influencing the direction or type of occupations an individual chooses later. This proposition requires further research by Nigerian counsellors.

Anne roe’s theory is sometimes referred to as the need theory. This theory stated that motivational factors or needs play a major role in determining one’s occupational choice Anne Roe believed that a person’s need determines the level of interest ad that occupational choice is the primary means of need satisfaction.

She feels that child-rearing practices gives rise to need development. This influences the type of interaction such a person will have with others, whether they will orient towards people or towards things, or toward data.
According to Roe (1956), a child may come from a home were undue demand is made on him. His needs are met contingent on his behaving in a particular way. Such individuals choose a people-oriented occupations.

An individual on the other hand may come from a home where he is rejected or neglected. Such individuals according to Roe may grow up to cook on non-person or things as a way of gaining satisfaction. They may choose occupation in the science or mechanical areas.

Again, an individual may come from a home where he is completely accepted, where his independence is encouraged. Such a person can balance both his personal and non-personal interest. They can either go for person-oriented or thing-oriented job.

However, it should be noted that Anne Roe in her study made use of a small sample and generalized the result. She equally did not consider other factors that could influence vocational choice.


While the theory that parent-child relations direct impact a person’s future career choice was subsequently kind to link childhood factors to future career choices and therefore put roe ahead of he time. She also identified a number of other variables affecting career choice and assigned them weights of importance. These variables included gender, the state of the economy, family background, education, physical impairments, friends and chance.

his was significant in that it recognized that there are many different variables affecting a person’s choice of occupation and that these variables carry different weight over time.

In support of Reo, Dawis (1997) stated that needs interacting with parent/child practices and attitudes produce a basic personality orientation, toward persons or toward non-persons, influencing the development of the work personality and vocational behaviour of the individual. Based on this, Roe;s theory (OsiPow, 1973), Walsh and Osipow, 1983, Roe, 1956, Roe and Lunnebory, (1990) posted.
1. Limits of potential development are set by genetic inheritance, including intellectual abilities, temperament, interests, and abilities.
2. General culture background and socio-economic position of the family affect the unique experiences of the individual.
3. Individual experiences which are governed by involuntary attention determine the pattern of development of interests, attitudes, and other personality variables that have not need genetically controlled.
a. Early satisfactions and frustrations as evidenced by the family situation, particularly relations with the parents, i.e, over protectiveness, avoidance or acceptance of the child are evidence of individual experiences.
b. Degrees of needs satisfaction determine which of Maslow’s needs will become the strongest motivators
4. The eventual pattern of psychic energies; i.e attention directed, is the major determinant of interests.

5. The intensity with which an individual feels (Maslovian) needs and the satisfying of these needs determine the degree of motivation to accomplish.


Many felt that roe’s theory was premature, lacking adequate research over a long enough period of time to show whether career choices could be clearly linked to parenting styles. In 1990, roe herself determined that there is no direct link between parent-child relations and occupational choice. Other weaknesses of her theory include failing to provide an explanation of how socio-demographic variables affect career choice and roe’s disinterest in determining how her theory could be used in practical application.


According to Roe, a Childs future Occupational choice depends upon how she was treated by her parents In 1956, Ann Roe, a clinical psychologist, developed a theory related to parenting styles and occupational choices. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, roe theorized that a person is disposed to certain occupations based upon the way he is raised. Roe broke parenting styles down into three major categories, “emotionally concentrated”, “avoidance prone”, and “accepting”. While series flaws in her theories have been identified, her model was the first to link childhood events and psychological needs with career choices.

1. EMOTIONAL CONCENTRATION: Parents in this category are overprotective or too demanding. The over protected child learns to follow the rules and becomes dependent upon the approval of others for self-esteem. The child with too-demanding parents learns that high standards must be met to receive approval and therefore tends to become a perfectionist
2. AVOIDANCE: Parents in this category range from those who neglect their children to those who reject them. believe they lack value because their basic needs are ignored.
3. ACCEPTING: These are parents who accept their children as they are and meet both their physical and psychological needs. These children learn that they have intrinsic value, which is not dependent upon their performance.

Roe also developed a new system for classifying occupations. She identifies eight occupational group. Survive, business contact, organization, technology, outdoor, science, general culture, and arts and entertainment. She further identified six occupational levels based upon degree of responsibility, capacity and skill. These levels are; professional and managerial with dependent responsibility, professional and managerial, semiprofessional and small business skilled, semiskilled and unskilled

1. Anne Roe’s theory can be used by the counsellors in my community to assess the client’s family background in relation to the problems exhibited by the client in question.
2. Where the clients needs and related careers are identified, there may be need to direct the client where there is confusion in relation to parental decision. This is the situation where the client chooses an occupation to satisfy parental or peer decisions, counseling is very important so that the client does not fall victim to heightened parental or external wishes and
3. The identification of the needs of the clients by the counsellors in my community through interview procedures and some relevant inventories would be helpful to the counsellor.


Abraham Maslow: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs “career
development and system theory; connecting theory
Mcmahion”, Wendy Patton and Mary McMahon; 2006
2014 American psychological association.

Bordin, E.S. (1994) “Intrinsic motivation and the active self:
convergence from a psychodynamic perspective, in
Savickas, M.L. & Lent, R.L. (Eds) convergence in career
development theories, Palo alto, Califomia Cpp Books,
pp 53-61.

Roe, A. (1956) the psychology of occupations, New York

Roe, A. (1957) “Early determinants of vocational choice,
Journal of Counseling psychology, Vol. 4, No. 3 pp 212-


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