Index of Self-Actualization

Jones, A., and Crandall, R. (1986). Validation of a short Index of Self-Actualization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 12:63–73.


The 15-item ISA discriminates between self-actualizing and non-self-actualizing individuals. Evidence of its reliability and validity are provided in the research.

Scale Development:

The basis for this index was the Personal Orientation Inventory (Shostrom, 1964). Half of each of the 150 two-choice POI items were rewritten using an agree-disagree format. These new items as well as the POI were given to 73 college students. The 10 items that had the highest item-total correlation with the total score (one from each of the 10 subscales) on the POI were selected. Four additional items from the POI were selected (highest correlation without regard to subscale) as well as five items (highest factor loadings on various subscales) from the Personal Orientation Dimensions (Shostrom, 1975). The original 19-item index was reduced to 15 items based on Cronbach’s alpha.


Approximately 500 people took part in validating the index. In general, classes of students in psychology, sociology, and business programs in two senior and three junior colleges in Texas participated. In addition, 73 college students from Illinois and 22 people from North Carolina participated.


Test-retest reliability for a 12-day interval (67 students) was 0.69 using the original four-point scale. Test- retest reliability for a two-week interval (67 students) was 0.81 using a six-point scale. The correlation between the original four-point scale and the six-point scale was 0.91 (84 students). The coefficient alpha for the index with a four-point scale was 0.65. The new alpha was 0.72 (274 students).


The index was correlated with Eysenck’s Personality Inventory (Eysenck and Eysenck, 1968); the Rational Behavior Inventory (Whiteman and Shorkey, 1978); Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965); Budner’s Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale (Budner, 1962); Slivken and Crandall’s Leisure Ethic Scale (Crandall and Slivken, 1980); and the Personal Orientation Inventory (Shostrom, 1964).

Factor Analysis:

A principal components factor analysis with a varimax rotation yielded five factors. The five factors are five items on autonomy or self-direction (2, 5, 9, 10, and 11); three items on self-acceptance and self-esteem (6, 8, and 14); two items on acceptance of emotions and freedom of expression of emotions (1 and 4); three items on trust and responsibility in interpersonal relations (3, 13, and 15); and two items on the ability to deal with undesirable aspects of like rather than avoiding them (7 and 12).


Dragnet-Eckert, F. (2001). The adaptive function of self-esteem: Autonomy and the growth-wellbeing motive. PhD dissertation, New School for Social Research.

Flett, G. L., et al. (1991). Factor structure of the Short Index of Self-Actualization. In A. Jones and R. Crandall, eds. Handbook of self-actualization. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 6:321–29.

Robertson, C. (2005). Creativity and aging: A grounded theory study of creative older individuals. PhD dissertation, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center.

Shostrom, E. L. (1975). Personal Orientation Dimensions. San Diego, CA: Educational and Industrial Testing Service.

Tucker, R. K., and Weber, D. R. (1988). Factorial validity of Jones and Crandall’s Short Index of Self-Actualization. Psychological Reports 63:39–45.

Weiss, A. S. (1991). The measurement of self-actualization: The quest for the test may be as challenging as the search for the self. In Jones and R. Crandall, eds. Handbook of self-actualization. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 6:265–90.

Short Index of Self-Actualization

1. I do not feel ashamed of any of my emotions.
2. I feel I must do what others expect of me.
3. I believe that people are essentially good and can be trusted.
4. I feel free to be angry at those I love.
5. It is always necessary that others approve what I do.
6. I don’t accept my own weaknesses.

7. I can like people without having to approve of them.
8. I fear failure.
9. I avoid attempts to analyze and simplify complex domains.
10. It is better to be yourself than to be popular.
11. I have no mission in life to which I feel especially dedicated.
12. I can express my feelings even when they may result in undesirable consequences.
13. I do not feel responsible to help anybody.
14. I am bothered by fears of being inadequate.
15. I am loved because I give love.

Scoring: Strongly Agree = 6; Agree = 5; Somewhat Agree = 4; Somewhat Disagree = 3; Disagree = 2; and Strongly Disagree = 1. For items 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, and 14 the scoring is reversed. Self-actualizing responses receive a score of 6, while non-self-actualizing responses receive a score of 1.