Loevinger's conceptualizaton of ego development in relation to psychopathology and personality characteristics in an adolescent clinical population

Hanna Yim Leong, Pace University


This study attempts to explore the complex interplay between the constructs of ego development, personality style and variability in ego functioning on the self-report of psychopathological symptoms. The archival data of 188 adolescents (83 males, 105 females) subjects were selected from the ongoing administration of psychological assessments on an inpatient unit of a private psychiatric hospital. The subjects represent a broad range of ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, geographic locations and socioeconomic status. Loevinger's scoring of the Washington University Sentence Completion Test was used as a measure of ego development while the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory was used to assess personality styles. The Youth Self-Report was used to assess psychopathological symptoms. Analysis of variance, correlational analysis and a multiple regression model were used to analyze the data. The results indicate the presence of a relationship between ego development and personality styles with an indirect relationship to symptom expression. There was a decrease in endorsement of an Active behavioral style as ego development increased without a direct transition to a Passive behavioral style. There was a clearer developmental transition from endorsesment of a Self-orientation to an Other-orientation as ego development advanced. A strong relationship was found between personality style and YSR syndromes but not between ego development and YSR syndromes. In general, the greater the endorsement of an Active behavioral style and either an Ambivalent or Detached personality style the higher the levels of self-report on all YSR scales. An Other-orientation exhibited the opposite relationship with a decrease in self-report of symptoms as individuals endorsed more of an Other-orientation. The present study did not find a clear transition from the report of Externalizing to Internalizing syndromes as ego level increased. Ego development had significant relationships to specific narrow band as well as broadband scales on the YSR. Conformists were found to have the strongest effect on between group analysis due to their significantly lower rates of reporting on all YSR and personality scales. Variability in ego functioning was found to have minimal interaction effects with both personality style and symptom expression. The interactional relationships that effected the self-report of YSR symptoms were examined and resulted in more specific profiles created among the variables of ego development, variability and personality style. Additional analyses explored the predictive power of MACI personality scales on the self-report of Internalizing and Externalizing syndromes.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Personality|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Leong, Hanna Yim, "Loevinger's conceptualizaton of ego development in relation to psychopathology and personality characteristics in an adolescent clinical population" (2000). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9975088.



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