What Do Interest Inventories Measure? The Convergence and Content Validity of Four RIASEC Inventories

Chu Chu, Mary T. Russell, Kevin A. Hoff, Wei Ming Jonathan Phan, James Rounds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the widespread use of RIASEC interest inventories, little is known about whether these inventories actually measure the same core constructs and provide similar career recommendations to individuals. This study investigates the construct validity among four major interest inventories—the Self-Directed Search (SDS), O*NET Interest Profiler (IP), ACT Interest Inventory (UNIACT), and Strong Interest Inventory (SII). Results showed that RIASEC interest scores from the four inventories were highly correlated, but the measures often gave respondents different high-point codes. Item content analysis revealed that the basic interests reflected in each RIASEC scale both overlapped and diverged across inventories, providing an explanation for why RIASEC inventories are not interchangeable. We integrate findings across our analyses to offer cautionary notes for choosing among established RIASEC inventories and interpreting interest results. Furthermore, we also provide recommendations for constructing the next generation of basic interest inventories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)776-801
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Career Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Holland’s RIASEC
  • basic interests
  • content validity
  • convergent validity
  • multitrait multimethod
  • vocational interests measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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