Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ronan S. Bernas


Increasingly, research has shown that the drive to elevate the self and the excessive pursuit of self-esteem have negative effects on well-being and mental health. In addition, many of the defensive and aggressive tendencies seen in psychological research can be seen as efforts to defend and elevate the self. In contrast to these tendencies, the quiet ego construct describes a state of ego balance characterized by an inclusive sense of identity, perspective-taking, detached awareness (mindfulness), and growth orientation. The quiet ego and related qualities have been associated with many positive outcomes. A body of research using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software (Pennebaker, Booth, Boyd, & Francis, 2015), has shown numerous relationships between use of language and psychological processes such as self-focus and social relationships. The present study examined the relationship between quiet ego, as measured by scores on the Quiet Ego Scale (Wayment, Bauer, & Sylaska, 2015), and the use of words in selected categories measured by the LIWC in high- and low-point life event narratives. The study also examined the relationships between the selected LIWC variables and several measures of well-being, and between quiet ego and well-being. Results confirmed a correlation between quiet ego and increased well-being and decreased depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. However, results showed no significant correlations between quiet ego and language use as measured by the LIWC. There were also no significant correlations between the selected LIWC variables and the well-being measures. Clinical implications of the research, limitations of the study, and future directions for research are discussed.