• Occupational value;
  • Values;
  • OVal-pd;
  • ValMO model


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract

Occupational value with predefined items scale is an originally 26-item Swedish tool used to assess values people find in their everyday doings. The present study validated this scale on a Turkish sample and described the values that Turks perceived in their daily doings. The participants included a convenience sample of 446 adults with mean age 26 (SD = 7.3). Initial item analysis followed by principal component analysis (Promax) and internal reliability analyses of the components were conducted. Statistics yielded a 19-item solution distributed across four factors. The Cronbach's alpha was .86, indicating good reliability. Confirming the earlier applications of the scale in the European and the American samples, factors related to recuperation, goal direction and social interaction emerged. Additionally, there appeared another occupational value subfactor, conservation, which did not show up in the Swedish and the American data analyses.

The Value and Meaning in Occupations Model (ValMO) developed by Persson, Erlandsson, Eklund, and Iwarsson (2001), rests on the understanding that occupation is “the culturally and personally meaningful and purposeful activities that humans engage in during their everyday lives” (Stein & Roose, 2000, p. 201). Similarly Bruner (1990) stated that individuals construct meaning, which can be generated and moulded by “participation in the symbolic systems of a culture” (p. 33); hence human actions within the day must be interpreted within a cultural context. Further, the occupations people engage in are the basis of identity, as people become what they do (Christiansen & Baum, 2005).

The model assumes that occupational value is an important prerequisite for personal experiences of meaning. The core assumption is that different kinds of daily occupations might lead to different experiences of meaning, which in turn are important for psychological health and well-being (Persson et al., 2001). The tenets of the model were previously validated on Swedish samples (Eklund, Erlandsson, & Persson, 2003; Erlandsson, Eklund, & Persson, 2011; Persson & Erlandsson, 2010).

According to ValMO tenets, concrete value of occupations is associated with perceptions of materialistic meaning in the doer. Gratification of basic needs carried in a routine (e.g. self-care, house-care), and activities associated with life-sustaining resource generation or maintenance (e.g. income production), lead to perception of concrete value (Persson et al., 2001). The product is something useful to the doer or to the beneficiary, but the performance or the occupation is not necessarily joyful (Eklund, Erlandsson, & Leufstadius, 2010).

Occupations that lead to perceptions of personal, cultural and/or universal meaning have symbolic value according to the model. Their outcomes may not be as tangible as the mainly concrete-value-generating occupations (Persson et al., 2001). For example, working for a prestigious company may have a symbolic significance for a person, and the outcome of getting a promotion and pay increase may be the concrete values. Involvement in symbolic occupations creates a platform of communication among people. Feasting with the extended family at home may be an occupation with symbolic value unique for a particular person, grounded in that person's exceptional experiences in childhood, while it increases interaction among family members as well. There are daily occupations perceived as personally, culturally and/or universally meaningful. If an occupation has a common cross-cultural meaning (e.g. helping people in need), it has universal symbolic value. Thus, symbolic value forms a communication path among people, while they communicate their identity through choice and performance of particular occupations (Persson et al., 2001).

Self-reward value is the instant incentive contingent upon the performance of a revitalising, refreshing, stimulating, soothing, relaxing or cathartic occupation (Persson et al., 2001). If an occupation causes psychological and physiological change in a positive sense, then the pleasure of doing the occupation is the driving force. In that case, the material result of engagement in the occupation would not be critical. Total absorption in a delightful occupation, forgetting time or place, having a flow experience, are the qualities of challenging self-reward occupations (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997).

The “Occupational Value with pre-defined items (OVal-pd)” scale was constructed based on the ValMO model, and the dynamics of occupational value construct was tested in Swedish samples (Eklund, Erlandsson, Persson, & Hagell, 2009; Eklund et al., 2003), and in a North American sample (Eakman & Eklund, 2011), using OVal-pd. Eklund et al. (2009) argued that the aspects that fit the everyday occupational value construct might vary between contexts (e.g. countries, cultures). The present study aims to determine the occupational value profile in Turkey, while also establishing the internal reliability and validity of the OVal-pd Turkish version.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract


Data were gathered from a convenience sample of 446 adults (male N = 303, 68%). University students (N = 235, 53%) and employees (N = 211, 47%) living in Istanbul participated in the survey. The participants answered the Turkish OVal-pd as part of a battery of psychometric instruments. The respondents completed the questionnaires in their free time. The professors collected completed student response forms, while the human resources executives collected the employee forms. Data gathering lasted from November 2011 to March 2012.


The OVal-pd and a demographics response sheet were used. OVal-pd measures the general perception of occupational value in everyday life (Eklund et al., 2009). It includes 26 Likert-type (1 to 4) questions denoting not at all, rather seldom, rather often and very often. Each item represents one of the three occupational values outlined in the ValMO model (i.e. concrete, symbolic, self-reward).

A Turkish researcher translated the OVal-pd American English version into Turkish. It was back-translated into English by another Turkish researcher who was blind to the nature of the scale. The American and Swedish researchers who carried out the OVal-pd American English reliability and structural validity study (Eakman & Eklund, 2011) checked the semantic content in this back-translated version and made relevant comments for revisions. In line with these comments, the final Turkish version to be pilot-tested for item-comprehension and item-difficulty issues was formed. The pilot testing on 40 randomly selected undergraduate and graduate students (mean age = 27, SD = 5.4) at a private university in Istanbul, who were blind to the nature of study, checked the variance similarity for each item within each factor and confirmed that all items under a particular factor were understandable with ease. The students recommended a few slight changes in wording of several items, which were evaluated and affirmed if appropriate.

Data analyses and results

IBM SPSS Statistics Program, Version 20 was used for data analyses. As the data were collected from adults at university and workplace settings, to test if the data set was homogenous and if scores of individuals belonging to each group reflect a latent pattern, which might confound the explanation of results, OVAL-composite scores of student and workplace groups were compared using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) mean differences test and Levene's homogeneity of variance test. The tests indicated that groups had homogenous variances, Levene statistic = .136; p = .712 and group comparisons yielded no significant differences between group means, F(1, 445) = 1.052, p = .306, p > .05 (Table 1).

Table 1. Subsample descriptive statistics for OVal-pd composite scores
University data2352.57910.329781.573.46
Workplace data2112.61110.327611.893.62

During the initial item analysis, the item scale correlations of all 26 items were calculated and 3 items with coefficients <.3 were removed, as such items were considered to be weak (Child, 1990). The four items that cross-loaded on more than one factor (the first and the second factors) with a coefficient of > .3 were also removed (Child, 1990; DeVellis, 1991). A principal component analysis with Promax rotation was chosen. Component analysis was preferred as it is a method used exclusively for uncovering latent factors from manifest variables in a data set. Promax was preferred as the rotation method as the latent factors, which form the occupational value construct, were thought to be psychological and it might be irrational to consider any set of psychological variables as really uncorrelated. Therefore, an oblique rotation such as Promax might represent a more realistic modelling of psychological phenomena (Reise, Waller, & Comrey, 2000). Eigenvalues > 1 limit was set.

Regression Factor Scores were computed and zero-order correlations were conducted between the regression factor scores. Factor composite scores were calculated by averaging the items under each factor. OVal-pd composite score for each person was calculated by taking the mean of responses to the 19-item final set. Lastly, the reliability analyses for each of the four latent factors were performed. Descriptive statistics for the Scale if Item Deleted were calculated, and if deletion of any item caused improvement of Cronbach's alpha, that item was removed.

After the analyses, a 19-item final solution with Cronbach's alpha .86 and four latent factors with eigenvalues >1 were obtained (Tables 2 and 3). The presence of a higher-order factor was investigated by putting the regression factor scores for each of the four components generated through PCA. A weak higher-order factor explaining only 47.8% of total variance emerged. Correlations between the 19 items and this higher-order value are presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Promax pattern matrix and correlations
Item numbersBrief item labelsIIIIIIIVCorrected item-total correlationItem-higher-order factor correlationComposite score-item correlation
  1. Note: Bold correlation coefficients indicate with which of the four components each item is correlated most.

 1Where I felt I could be myself .48−.14 .28 .
 2Where I could be free and let loose .61−.00−.13 .
 3That were fun and playful .78 .02 .05−.
16Where I could let off steam .79 .05 .14−.
18Because it was true pleasure to do those things .72 .08 .04 .
21Because they were a lot of fun .71−.06−.11 .
26That helped me to relax .53−.01−.15 .
 5Because it is a tradition to do those things−.08 .83 .14 .
 6Because everyone else was doing those things .03 .89 .01−.
 7Because it was necessary to do those things .02 .83−.07 .
15Because my friends/family do those things .04 .84−.06 .
 4Where something important was accomplished .11 .03 .83−.
 8Where I learned something new .05−.05 .65 .
14Where I taught something to someone−.04 .07 .54 .
17Where I dealt with challenges I could handle−.15−.00 .84 .
 9Where I was in touch with other people .02 .09−.12 .
12That led other people to get in touch with each other−.20−.04 .13 .
19That made me feel very close to others .14 .00 .06 .
23That strengthened my gender identity .18−.00 .06 .
Table 3. Internal reliability, mean and SD of factors (n = 446)
FactorNumber of itemsOverall meanOverall standard deviationReliability score (Cronbach's alpha)
  1. Note: Acceptable level of reliability is Cronbach's alpha > .6, as recommended for relatively new scales, just like OVal-pd (Hair et al., 1998).

All factors192.540.43.85
First factor72.430.59.82
Second factor42.630.65.88
Third factor42.570.65.73
Fourth factor42.500.61.68

Four factors explained 27.9%, 15.3%, 8.4% and 5.8% of the total variance in succession. Regression factor scores with means of zero and standard deviations of one z-score were calculated and respondents were given separate scores in relation to each identified factor. As regression factor scores predict the location of each individual on the factor, they are suitable to use for examining the availability of a higher-order factor (DiStefano, Zhu, & Mindrila, 2009). The four latent factors that emerged in this study loaded moderately on a higher-order factor, which had Kaiser-Meyer Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy (KMO) = .64, and Bartlett's test of sphericity at chi-square 221.40 and p < .001.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract

This study aimed at finding the meaning patterns Turks perceive (or construct) in their day-to-day activities using an originally Swedish scale called OVal-pd, which was built on the assumption that there are three value dimensions in everyday occupations: concrete, symbolic and self-reward. Individuals load significance on their everyday engagements, thereby constructing an overall meaning of life, which connects their daily occupations (Jackson, 1998). However, as hitherto thought and tested, meaning making is a culture-dependent process (e.g. Kielhofner, 2009; Kinébanian & Stomph, 2009). Therefore, it is expected to find variations in occupational value patterns and people's perception of different meanings in different communities, social and geographic contexts. As OVal-pd was used in the Swedish and North American contexts earlier, this Turkish study would both consolidate the validity and reliability of the scale, serving the purpose of instrument development and reveal the meaning patterns Turks perceive in their everyday occupations (please see Table 4 for country comparisons).

Table 4. Itemwise comparison of validated OVal-pd in Sweden, the USA and Turkey
Item numbersBrief items200920112012
  1. Note: The sign X under country names represents that the associated item was validated in that country. The items with an asterisk by the item number represent culture-free items, implying that they were validated in the three countries where the OVal-pd was applied. In Turkey, the items 11, 13 and 25 were excluded due to their corrected item-total correlations smaller than .3, which was shown with the letter a. The items 10, 20, 22 and 24 cross-loaded to both the first and the second components, therefore they were also excluded, which was represented by the letter b.

1*Where I felt I could be myselfXXX
2Where I could be free and let loose XX
3*That were fun and playfulXXX
4*Where something important was accomplishedXXX
5Because it is a tradition to do those things  X
6Because everyone else was doing those things  X
7Because it was necessary to do those things  X
8*Where I learned something newXXX
9Where I was in touch with other people XX
10Where I was satisfied with the resultXXb
11In order to complete something Xa
12*That led other people to get in touch with each otherXXX
13Where emotions and tensions have outletXXa
14*Where I taught something to someoneXXX
15Because my friends/family do those things  X
16*Where I could let off steamXXX
17*Where I dealt with challenges I could handleXXX
18*Because it was true pleasure to do those thingsXXX
19*That made me feel very close to othersXXX
20That has spiritual importance for me Xb
21*Because they were a lot of funXXX
22Where I thought I made a contributionXXb
23*That strengthened my gender identityXXX
24Where I developed as a personXXb
25Where I forgot about time and placeXXa
26*That helped me to relaxXXX

The Turkish version of OVal-pd resulted in four factors based on 19 items. All seven items that loaded onto Factor 1 were related to occupations that participants engaged in order to relax, refresh and recharge. Thus, this factor was labelled recuperation. In the Swedish (Eklund et al., 2009) and the American version (Eakman & Eklund, 2011), all of these items were validated, except for the item number 2 (i.e. where I could be free and let loose), which was weeded out in the Swedish version. In accord with the ValMO model, this factor is chiefly related to self-reward value.

Four items loaded onto a second factor related to externally imposed or enforced occupations, mainly essential for feeling secure within a cultural context. These may be culturally prescribed occupations and necessities, where participation is not due to intrinsic motivation but is essential for the maintenance of social status and relationships in society. Schwartz (1994) stated that tradition signifies respect, commitment and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture imposes. He claimed that people in conservative societies respect tradition and accept their portion in life. According to Schwartz (1994), openness to change and conservation are opposite poles; while the former is a characteristic of individualism, the latter is a characteristic of collectivism. Conservation has three value components: safety seeking, conformity/following the majority and preservation of tradition. As the items under the second factor closely overlap with this description, the second factor was labelled conservation.

In Turkey, especially in the last 10 years of increased Islamisation and conservatism, putting up with traditions, religious rules, unwritten codes of conduct and the impositions of people higher in the hierarchy materialised incrementally as an occupational value. The items under the conservation factor (i.e. doing things because others do it, doing things because they are necessary, doing things because they are traditional, doing things because family/friends do it) could not find a place in the Swedish and American English versions where openness to change was dominant. Hence, it is not surprising that all of these four items had been eliminated in Sweden and in the USA, two countries representing strong individualistic cultures. Formerly, Eakman and Eklund (2011) had recommended the removal of these items in future versions of OVal-pd, stating that being externally imposed might not fit well within the general construct of occupational value. In this study, the data demonstrated that these items reflect an occupational value in Turkey, and therefore should be kept in the Turkish scale. The emergence of this factor is not surprising, considering the rapidly increasing conservatism in Turkish society through the last decade. There is heavy neighbourhood pressure implemented by the rising conservative Islamists on all Turkish society, principally the secular, modern Turks, a condition that was made visible to world press by the Gezi-Park demonstrations by the secularists, which started in Istanbul in late May 2013. Governmental restrictions regarding alcohol selling and use, male–female students' cohabitation, internet access, freedom of expression and caesarean birth coupled with governmentally imposed values such as giving birth to three children, women's wearing headscarves and other Sunni-Islam values have found widespread acceptance among poorly educated people, and modernist secularists are almost forced to obey the majority and adopt their values. Concerning the ValMO model, items under this factor were primarily related to the symbolic value. Through reading cues at a cultural level, the people around give approval or rejection messages to the doer of certain occupations (Persson et al., 2001).

The four items that loaded onto Factor 3 relate to the goal-directed occupations with substantial outcomes such as teaching, coaching or training others; learning new things; achieving important duties and undertaking demanding responsibilities. Therefore, this factor was labelled goal direction. All questions under this factor had found a place in the Swedish and American English versions as well. The correlate of this factor is concrete value in the ValMO model. However item number 14, (i.e. where I taught something to someone) had been categorised within occupations with social recreational value (i.e. self-reward) rather than with concrete value in the American English version (Eakman & Eklund, 2011), indicating that for the Turks teaching is like a chore rather than a pleasurable activity.

All variables that are exclusively related to interpersonal relationships such as making love, confiding in someone, socialising with a group of people or just contacting others formed the fourth factor. Thus, this factor was named social interaction. Concerning the ValMO model, the itemised occupations may lead the doer mainly to symbolic and self-reward value.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract

Turks perceive recuperation, conservation, goal direction and social interaction in their daily activities. Although factor structures among Turkish, Swedish and North American scales were similar, there was an important difference in the emergence of conservation factor in Turkish context.

The findings from this study have contributed to both further development of the OVal-pd, and to gaining deeper insight into cross-cultural aspects of the occupational value construct, as delineated in the ValMO model. In this study, a link between cultural values and occupational value was found, but it needs to be verified in future research, with more representative samples.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
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