The effect of ego development, gender, and depression on adolescents' progress toward individuation

Bonnie Meyer Altman, Pace University


The role of ego development, gender, and depression in adolescents' progress toward individuation was explored using a sample of high school students who participated in a longitudinal study of adolescent development conducted at Pace University. For this investigation, data from two years of the study were used and included approximately 549 participants who completed the Loevinger's Sentence Completion Test (SCT), the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC), and the Pace Profile of Adolescent Depression and Individuation (PPADI), a new measure developed on an earlier sample from the same school. The nine stages of ego development derived from Loevinger's SCT were divided into four categorizes commonly used in research: Preconformist, Conformist, Transitional/Self-Aware, and Postconformist. The CES-DC determined whether adolescents were significantly depressed. It was also used to validate the depression scales of the PPADI as well as depressive equivalents and positive adaptation. Depression as it relates to individuation was measured by the PPADI, which made up the outcome variables. The relationship between these variables was measured by an Ego by Gender by Depression Analysis of Variance. The central hypothesis was that ego development, gender and depression would account for adolescents' progress toward individuation, as measured by the Pace Profile of Adolescent Depression and Individuation. Results from the ego development by gender by depression ANOVAs revealed significant differences on the PPADI scales. These findings suggest that these variables do in fact account for differences in adolescents' progress toward individuation and identity formation. In addition, those who scored higher than I6 on the CES-DC (i.e. those who are significantly depressed) were higher on the different depression PPADI scales. These findings indicate that the PPADI is a useful measure for assessing adolescent depression and development. Results were further evaluated and discussed in terms of limitations, implications for school/clinical child psychology and ideas for future research.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Altman, Bonnie Meyer, "The effect of ego development, gender, and depression on adolescents' progress toward individuation" (2002). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3036909.



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