Personal Orientation Dimensions

Shostrom, E. L. (1977). Manual for the Personal Orientation Dimensions. San Diego, CA: Educational and Industrial Testing Service.


The 260-item Personal Orientation Dimensions (POD) is a refinement and extension of the POI. It contains 13 scales with 20 items in each scale that represent an aspect in the actualizing individual.

Scale Construction:

The POD is based on item analyses and construct validation studies that were conducted on the POI. Items were written based on the development of the POI and the theoretical model of the actualizing individual. An item pool of 370 items was created and several samples participated in the development of the POD. Items are stated both in the positive and in the negative. Scales from the POI that had predictive and factorial validity were utilized by either adding new items or rewriting old items.


The original sample consisted of 402 college freshmen.


Test-retest reliability coefficients over a one-week period ranged from 0.53 (weakness) to 0.79 (potentiation), and over a three-month period ranged from 0.55 (strength) to 0.72 (weakness).


In order to establish the predictive validity of the POD, it was administered to a group of actualizing individuals and a group of non-actualizing individuals. Significant differences were found for all scales. Concur- rent validity was established by correlating the POD with the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and the Clinical Analysis Questionnaire.

Factor Analysis:

First order and second order analyses were performed. The POI scale of Time Competence became the POD scale of Time Orientation; Self-Regard became Strength; Self-Acceptance became Weakness; Existentiality became Potentiation; Nature of Man-Constructive became Trust in Humanity; Synergy became Synergistic Integration; and Acceptance of Aggression became Anger. The POD scales of Creative Living, Mission, and Manipulation Awareness are new scales.

Definition of Scales:

Time Orientation refers to living in the present instead of blaming the past or relying on the future. Core Centeredness refers to believing in one’s feelings. Strength refers to power, security, worth, adequacy, or competence. Weakness refers to humanness, vulnerability, hurt or helplessness. Anger refers to feelings and experiences of anger. Love refers to feelings and experiences of warmth, tenderness, or affection. Synergistic Integration demonstrates that opposites or polarities are not necessarily opposites. Potentiation views life as a gestalt. Being refers to expressing feelings or thoughts. Trust in Humanity refers to viewing human nature as basically good. Creative Living refers to effectiveness and innovation. Mission refers to commitment to a life task. Manipulation Awareness refers to manipulative or controlling actions.

Data Analysis:

Intercorrelations among the POD scales are reported as well as intercorrelations between the POD and the POI, and between the POD, the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, and the Myer Briggs Type Indicator. Scale means, standard deviations, and reliabilities are presented. In addition, significant relationships between the POD and the Clinical Analysis Questionnaire are documented.


Knapp, R. R., and Knapp, L. (1978). Conceptual and statistical refinement and extension of the measurement of actualizing: Concur- rent validity of the Personal Orientation Dimensions (POD). Educational and Psychological Measurement 38:523–26.

Lerner, D. L. (1977). Self-actualizing profiles of scientists and actors as described by the Personal Orientation Dimensions. PhD dissertation, United States International University.

Maslow, A. H. (1971). The further reaches of human nature. New York: Viking.

Rofsky, M., et al. (1977). Assessing the level of actualizing of psychiatric in-patients: Validity of the Personal Orientation Dimensions. Educational and Psychological Measurement 37:1075–79.

Shostrom, E. L., et al. (1976). Validation of the Personal Orientation Dimensions: An inventory for the dimensions of actualizing. Educational and Psychological Measurement 36:391–494.


A forced-choice format is used so that each item is written twice (items represent both ends of the continuum). Machine scoring is available.

Sample Items: (not actual item numbers)

1. a. I feel that I have a right to expect others to do what I want of them.
b. I do not feel that I have a right to expect others to do what I want of them.
2. a. I fear failure.
b. I don’t fear failure.
3. a. I follow diligently the motto, “Don’t waste your time.”
b. I do not feel bound by the motto, “Don’t waste your time.”
4. a. I feel that people are more basically good than bad.
b. I feel that people are more basically bad than good.
5. a. I feel dedicated to my work.
b. I do not feel dedicated to my work.