Values Scale

Values ScaleThe Values Scale (VS) is used to assess values in life roles, largely in relation to work. Items query both values desired in life roles and the place of work in value manifestation. The VS can be used in career counseling to identify areas of values conflict and deficits in career development and to connect values with the career planning process. The VS provides 21 values scores: ability utilization, achievement, advancement, aesthetics, altruism, authority, autonomy, creativity, economic rewards, lifestyle, personal development, physical activity, prestige, risk, social interaction, social relations, variety, working conditions, cultural identity, physical prowess, and economic security. The 21 values can be reported in five subsets: inner-oriented, group-oriented, material, physical prowess, and physical activity. Values assessed are both intrinsic (e.g., creativity, ability utilization) and extrinsic (e.g., economic rewards, security). The VS is intended for use with junior high school students to adults as a tool for research, career commitment evaluation, and individual career counseling. The 2-page, 106-item VS can be group or individually administered in 30-15 minutes and profiles compared to U.S. norms. Responses are captured on a 4-point scale (little or no importance to very important). The VS can be hand-scored or sent to the publisher for scoring. An individual report is provided in an easily readable profile format.

The VS manual lists internal consistency reliabilities for individual scales in the .6 to .8 range and stability reliabilities from .5 to .8. Support for validity is claimed from content review during scale development, by structural (factor) analysis, and known-group comparisons (e.g., gender, age differences). Further general support for the validity of the VS has been found by other investigators. There is also research support for use of the VS in career counseling.

The VS was initially developed by an international panel for use in cross-national research. The project’s intent was to produce a global knowledge base useful in developmental career counseling. Donald Super, a prominent theorist in the area of career development, was a coordinator of the Work Importance Study, which included research teams of vocational psychologists worldwide. Each national team contributed to the project via literature reviews, providing or revising construct definitions, and writing or reviewing and revising items that led to creation of the VS.


  1. Nevill, D. D., & Super, D. E. (1989). The Values Scale—Theory, applications, and research. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
  2. Niles, S. G., & Goodnough, G. E. (1996). Life-role salience and values: A review of recent literature. Career Development Quarterly, 45, 65-86.
  3. Super, D. E. (1995). Values: Their nature, assessment, and practical use. In D. E. Super & B. Sverko (Eds.), Life roles, values, and careers: International findings of the Work Importance Study (pp. 54-61). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  4. Super, D. E., Osborne, W. L., Walsh, D. J., Brown, S. D., & Niles, S. G. (1992). Developmental career assessment and counseling: The C-DAC model. Journal of Counseling and Development, 71, 74-80.