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University of Wyoming

Jane Loevinger

Ego Development


Jane Loevinger's 1976 ego-development stages are based on Piaget's model but Loevinger concluded that development had the potential to progress into adulthood. Loevinger defines an ego as the traits that determine how one views and relates to the world. The ego develops with the function to adapt to external demands such as fear and tolerance. This learned separations of the demand and the person's behavior allows the development of more complex cognitive activities such as thinking, imagining, and planning. In the end, the goal of ego development is to move towards a fully integrated sense of ego-sense of self.

Assumptions about learning/ego development:

  • ego development is conceptually distinct from intellectual development and from psychosexual development.
  • ego development is an abstraction, a juncture of s developmental sequence and of character development.
  • there is an inner logic of ego development, sequencing of progression. Each stage builds on the prior stage and each stage is strength to build on in the next stage.
  • the attempt to measure ego development must be based on a interconnected and progressive model.
  • ego development can be described as a milestone sequence. The milestones tend to be observable at a minimal inferential level.

Brief History:

Jane Loevinger is a professor emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis. Listed below are some of Loevinger's work.

Loevinger, J. (1976). Ego development: Concepts and theories. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Loevinger,J. (1979). Construct validity of the Sentence Completion Test of Ego Development. Applied Psychological Measurement, 3, 281-311.

Loevinger,J., and Hy Le, L. (1989). Measuring ego development: Supplementary manual and exercises for Form 81 of the Washington University Sentence Completion Test. Unpublished manuscript, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

Loevinger,J., and Wessler, R. (1970). Measuring ego development: Vol 1. Construction and use of a sentence completion test. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.

Loevinger,J., Wessler, R., and Redmore,C. (1970). Measuring ego development: Vol. 2. Scoring manual for women and girls. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Loevinger,J. (1979). Scientific Ways in the Study of Ego Development. Worchester, Mass.: Clark University Press.