Self-Actualization Profile of Eleanor Roosevelt: A Presumed Nontranscender

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Self-Actualization Profile of Eleanor Roosevelt: A Presumed Nontranscender


Maslow distinguished two types of self-actualizers: the "seers" or transcenders, and the "doers" or nontranscenders. A previous study of self-actualization focused on Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a poet who wrote in prose and was very much a "seer." The present study focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt, a humanitarian and social reformer, who was very much the "doer." The purpose of the study is to examine the differences and the similarities in self-actualization of a "doer" and a "seer,'' as well as to provide material illustrative of the strong traits of self-actualization. Current instrumentation (the Personal Orientation Inventory) is criticized for not including-the strong traits and distorting others.

Biographical material covering Eleanor Roosevelt's "years on her own" was analyzed for the presence of traits of self-actualization and traits that would negate it (Imperfections). The self-actualization profile thus obtained turned out to be similar to that obtained for Saint-Exupery. However, the nature of expression of certain traits-for example, More Efficient Perception of Reality and Problem Centering-reflects the nontranscender-transcender distinction posited by Maslow. On the other hand, the universal values and the power of the ideals which inspired both self actualizers and with which they inspired others seem to transcend this distinction. It may thus be that to be self-actualizing, whether a "doer" or a "seer" one's motivation has to have transcendent roots.

The study of Eleanor Roosevelt also revealed certain characteristics which are likely to be exhibited by other self-actualizers, such as Humility and Equitableness. These had not been mentioned by Maslow.






Self-actualization profile of Eleanor Roosevelt


Piechowski, M. M., & Tyska, C. (1982). Self-actualization profile of Eleanor Roosevelt. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 105, 95-153.





“Self-Actualization Profile of Eleanor Roosevelt: A Presumed Nontranscender,” TPD Archive , accessed January 27, 2020,

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