My Vocational Situation Scale

The My Vocational Situation scale (MVS) is a self-report screening tool developed for use with high school, college, and adult career counseling clients. The MVS was authored by John L. Holland, Denise Daiger, and Paul G. Power. After a 10-minute administration time, it provides information on clients’ vocational identity status, knowledge of career information, and applicable career barriers.

The majority of the inventory is comprised of the Vocational Identity subscale, which is made up of 18 true and false items. Vocational identity is one of the secondary constructs within Holland’s popular theory of careers and defined as stable and clear goals, interests, and abilities. The MVS also includes an Occupation Information subscale, which assesses for lack of vocational training or knowledge of career information through 4 yes or no items. The third sub-scale, Barriers, is a 4-item yes or no scale that assesses for environmental and personal barriers related to career decision making.

My Vocational Situation ScaleThe results from the three scales can be used to determine if a client’s difficulty in the career development process stems from low vocational identity, a lack of appropriate information, multiple barriers to his or her goals, or a combination of these issues. The results can inform the interventions that a career counselor may use with a client. Scores are based on the sum of all false and no answers. Therefore, higher scores on this measure are positive, indicating more stable vocational identity.

The norm group for the MVS comprises just over 1,000 individuals, including high school students, college students, full-time workers, and a few graduate students and university faculty. The test authors admit that the normative data were gathered haphazardly. The Vocational Identity Scale has the most acceptable psychometric properties, with some rather questionable reliability data reported for the other two scales. Some validity evidence is available for the MVS. This evidence is most inconsistent for the Occupational Information and Barriers subscales. Therefore, the reliability and validity evidence does not support the use of the Occupational Information and Barriers sub-scales to make decisions about individuals’ career development status.

The MVS is published and available for purchase through Consulting Psychologist Press in its paper and pencil form. It is available for purchase in computerized format from Psychological Assessment Resources when bundled with the Self-Directed Search.


  • Holland, J. L., Gottfredson, D. C., & Power, P. G. (1980). Some diagnostic scales for research in decision making and personality: Identity, information, and barriers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 1191-1200.