Ego development in adult women


  • The early years of this research were supported by the Bureau of Health Manpower Education, Department of Public Health Services, National Institute of Health, contract No 72-4216 Additional analysis of the data was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Grant No 3009 The practitioner training program was partially supported by the Maternal and Child Health Services, HEW, Project 935 Betty L Highlev, Dept of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, was principal investigator for these grants The data were gathered at the University of California, San Francisco I was greatly helped by discussions with James Picano who served as research assistant, and by Alan Bostrom and Rex Green, who assisted in the data analysis I also profited from comments on the article from Ravenna Helson, Daha Ducker, and Paul Werner

Requests for reprints should be sent to Martha S White, California School of Professional Psychology, 1900 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94704


Ego development in adult women was studied using Loevinger's Sentence Completion Test of Ego Development (SCT) The subjects were 163 women in a university nurse practitioner training program Ego development scores were correlated with scores from personality tests and with interview data Higher ego levels were related to personal adjustment, nurturance, responsibility, tolerance, enjoyment of children, inner control, capacity for status, and age Improvement in ego level scores was found only for those at, or below, the self-aware level The SCT, as scored for women, seems to be particularly sensitive to differences in responsible caring in relationships, an aspect of personality development often neglected by other tests