Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration relates that anxiety appears to be the dynamic of self-actualization. A study to assess this hypothesis (Wilkins, Hjelle, & Thompson, 1977) indicated that self-actualization was incompatible with chronic, debilitating or neurotic anxiety. However, the test purported to measure or assess self-actualization (the Personal Orientation Inventory) is biased against Dabrowski’s premise because the POI’s theoretical constructs and test construction are based upon the philosophy that anxiety is a hindrance to self-actualization. The findings of this study support the position that self-actualization and anxiety are compatible at both low and high self-actualized levels with self-actualization positively contributing to anxiety at the high self-actualized level. Severely anxious individuals are not necessarily self-actualized but anxiety does not, apparently, inhibit self-actualization growth. Self-actualization appears to precipitate anxiety as a means of growth. However, anxiety does not necessarily precipitate self-actualization. Thus Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration remains viable.


Paul Zelhart

Date of Award

Summer 1980

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


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