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Jane Loevinger's stages of ego development includes nine sequential stages, each of which represents a progressively more complex way of perceiving oneself in relation to the world.


  • Presocial
  • No ego
  • Not Differentiated from the World
  • Symbiotic
  • Self-Nonself Differentiation
  • Stability of Objects


  • Curbed by Restraints, Rewards & Punishments
  • Others are Seen as What They Can Give
  • "Nice to Me" or "Mean to Me"
  • Present-Centred
  • Physical but not Psychological Causation


  • Anticipates Rewards & Punishments
  • First Self-Control
  • "Don’t Get Caught"
  • Externalize Blame
  • Opportunistic Hedonism


  • Take in Rules of the Group
  • No Self Apart from Others
  • Other’s Disapproval is Sanction
  • Not Only Fear of Punishment
  • Rules and Norms not Distinguished
  • Rejects Out-Group
  • Stereotypes Roles
  • Security = Belonging
  • Behaviours Judged Externally not by Intentions


  • Self Distinct from Norms & Expectations
  • First Inner Life
  • Banal Feelings Always in Reference to Others
  • Pseudo-Trait Conceptions
  • Modal Stage of Adults


  • Goals and Ideals
  • Sense of Responsibility
  • Rules are Internalized
  • Guilt is From Hurting Another, not Breaking Rules
  • Having Self Apart from Group
  • Standards are Self-Chosen
  • Traits are Part of Rich Interior World
  • Standards Distinguished from Manners
  • Motives and not Just Actions
  • Sees Self from Other Point of View


  • Distancing from Role Identities
  • Subjective Experience as Opposed to Objective Reality
  • Greater Tolerance of Self & Others
  • Relationships Cause Dependency
  • Awareness of Inner Conflict
  • Inner Reality Vs. Outward Appearance
  • Psychological Causality and Development


  • Inner Conflicts of Needs Vs Duties
  • Polarity, Complexity, Multiple Facets
  • Integrate Ideas
  • Tolerate Ambiguity
  • Freeing from Conscience
  • Concern for Emotional Interdependence
  • Integrates Different Identities
  • Self-Fulfillment
  • How They Function in Different Roles


  • Transcendence of Conflicts
  • Self-Actualizing
  • Fully Worked Out Identity

See also[]


  • Loevinger, J. (1976) Ego Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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