Self-actualizing where ego development finally feels good?

Jack J. Bauer, Joseph R. Schwab, Dan P. McAdams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This article addresses a paradox surrounding psychosocial maturity and self-actualizing in relation to well-being. Several stage theories of maturity (notably ego development; Loevinger, 1976) culminate in self-actualizing, which Maslow (1968) characterizes as the pinnacle of psychological health and well-being. However, empirical measures of maturity and well-being do not correlate. In a reanalysis of three datasets, we find preliminary support for the notion that people scoring at the highest stage of Loevinger's ego development might have higher levels of well-being and narrate a more growth-focused self-identity than people scoring at all other stages. Drawing on Erikson's (1959= 1994) claim that the acceptance of life's complexities underlies ego integrity, we attempt to provide a theoretical explanation for how well-being might emerge normatively at the highest stage of psychosocial maturity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-136
Number of pages16
JournalHumanistic Psychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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