Ryff et al. - Paths of Adult Development

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

In an effort to explain why adults grow in different but positive ways in their mastery of their environments and themselves, Helson and Srivastava (2001) following Ryff (1989) identify three development styles - conservers, seekers and achievers, as follows:

P – Achievers: Value social recognition and achievement.
A – Conservers: Value the security and harmony of living according to social norms.
E – Seekers: Pursue knowledge and independence from social norms.
I – Depleted: Ryff’s model features the two dimensions of environmental and self mastery (high or low). This focus on the efficacy of individuals does not cover collaborative behavior in the I mode. In the I quadrant we find a “Depleted” state of low environmental mastery and low personal growth (or progress). Interestingly these are precisely the conditions under which it would be wise to abandon individualistic efforts and seek out the help of others.

Ryff’s model parallel’s Weiner’s attribution scheme and Michael Lewis’ typology of self-conscious evaluative emotions.

1. Ryff, C. D. (1989). “Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069-1081.
2. Helson, R., & Srivastava, S. (2001). “Three Paths of Adult Development: Conservers, Seekers and Achievers.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(6), 995-1010.
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