Ego Development and Personality Change in Adulthood

Ravenna Helson, Brent W. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At age 43, 90 women in a longitudinal study were classified on the basis of J. Loevinger's (Loevinger & Wessler, 1970) Sentence Completion Test into 3 levels of ego development: self-aware or below, conscientious, and individualistic or above. Retrospective multivariate analyses of variance showed that ego level was associated with differential personality change on scales of the California Psychological Inventory from ages 21-43. In a path analysis, verbal aptitude in high school, psychological mindedness in college, and stimulation of life path between ages 21 and 43 each independently predicted ego level at age 43. Accounts of difficult times that involved construction of new schemas (accommodation rather than assimilation) were associated with high ego level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-920
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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