Adult Career Concerns Inventory

The career concerns presented to counselors by adults vary widely. Some clients are making new career choices, others are coping with adjustment problems, and still others are planning retirement. To identify the career issues that most concern an individual, Donald Super, Albert Thompson, and Richard Lindeman constructed the Adult Career Concerns inventory (ACCI). The ACCI contains 61 items and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The first 60 items ask individuals to indicate their degree of concern about coping behaviors that address a sequence of vocational development tasks. The final item inquires about the individual’s current career change status.

The Adult Career Concerns Inventory operationally defines Super’s model of career adaptability in adulthood. This model postulates that individuals are likely to progress through four stages as they cycle through an occupational position or job. The length of an occupational cycle can last 30 months (called a minicycle) or 30 years (called a maxicycle) depending on the circumstances of the individual’s career pattern. The four major stages in either a mini- or maxicycle are exploration, establishment, maintenance, and disengagement. For each stage, the ACCI measures 15 coping behaviors that deal with progressing through that stage. The 15 coping behaviors in each of the four stages are further divided into subscales consisting of five items each that measure three specific tasks for each stage.

The three tasks of the exploration stage are crystallization, specification, and implementation. These tasks of exploration require that an individual crystallize his or her vocational self-concept and translate it into a general preference for a group of similar occupations, then reduce that group to specify a single specific occupational choice, and eventually to implement the specified choice by gaining employment in that occupation. The three tasks of the establishment stage are stabilizing, consolidating, and advancing, where one is required to adapt to the culture of the organization and show competence in one’s job-related tasks, develop a conscientious and disciplined work ethic while establishing friendly and collaborative relationships, and show initiative in order to gain promotion. The three tasks of the maintenance stage are not characterized by progress; rather, they deal with preservation. As such, the tasks deal with the manner in which an individual seeks to maintain his or her current position. The three styles of maintenance are upholding, updating, and innovating, and involve maintaining one’s work-related responsibilities, updating one’s knowledge and skills, and seeking new ways to complete tasks more efficiently. Finally, the disengagement stage involves the tasks by which an individual leaves one job or occupation in order to transition to another job or eventually into retirement living. Disengagement involves deceleration as one manages her or his time between fulfilling current work responsibilities and exploring new possibilities.


  1. Glavin, K. W., & Rehfuss, M. (2005, June). Using the Adult Career Concerns Inventory to measure career planning and one’s concerns with career development tasks at various life stages. Paper presented at the National Career Development Association conference, Orlando, FL.
  2. Niles, S. G., Anderson, W. P., Jr., Hartung, P. J., & Staton, A. R. (1999). Identifying client types from Adult Career Concerns Inventory scores. Journal of Career Development, 25, 173-185.
  3. Super, D. E., Thompson, A. S., & Lindeman, R. H. (1988). Adult Career Concerns Inventory: Manual for research and exploratory use in counseling. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.