Projective tests as indicators of life history strategy: Evidence using Loevinger’s sentence completion test
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Life history strategy represents individual variation in the degree to which bioenergetic resources are allocated toward growth, maintenance, and reproduction. Individual differences in life history strategies are thought to underlie many of the individual differences studied in Psychology. It was hypothesized that responses on the Sentence Completion Test of Ego Development are partially reflective of an individual’s life history strategy. This hypothesis was tested in three studies, each representing a different level of analysis. The results of Study 1 suggest near unity between ego-level and life history strategy at the conceptual level. In Study 2 a moderate association between rated ego-level and rated life history strategy was found. Additional analyses showed that this association remained when controlling for verbal IQ and that developmental change in each construct was correlated. In Study 3, it was found that responses to the sentence stems could be used directly to assess life history strategy. Combined, the results add to the evidence that responses on projective tests using a sentence stem format are associated with life history strategy. Future research could focus on identifying and constructing sentence stems that provide the maximum information about an individual’s life history strategy.
KeywordsLife history Ego development Projective test
This project was made possible by the Henry A. Murray Research Archive which is housed by the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. The data employed in this study derive from a 30-year longitudinal study begun with 128 three-year-old girls and boys, planned and conducted by Jack and Jeanne H. Block, involving a sequence of nine independent assessments based on personality and cognitive Life, Observational, Test, and Self-report (LOTS) measures.
Data collection was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at Western Illinois University.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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