Personality Development

Clinical Relevance

The WUSCT and SCT-Y have been used in both clinical research and clinical practice (see Westenberg, Hauser, & Cohn, 2004). Three implications of this work are particularly notable:


  1. Knowledge of a client’s interpersonal frame of reference (as indexed by scores on the SCT) can help to establish a good relationship with the client and can assist in identifying the most appropriate treatment modality (Barglow et al., 1983; Dill & Noam, 1990; Kirshner, 1988; Rock & Goldberger, 1981; Sprinthall, DeAngelis-Peace, & Davis-Kennigton, 2001). Findings reported by Young-Eisendrath and Foltz (1998) suggest that clinical interventions can often be tailored to the developmental level of the client, regardless of the client’s age.

  3. The WUSCT and SCT-Y can help to assess a client’s developmental level relative to his or her same age peers. Being out of step with one’s age peers – whether being behind or ahead of them – might create interpersonal difficulties, a phenomenon referred to as age-stage dysynchrony (Noam, 1998).

  5. Several studies suggest that externalizing problems are associated with relatively low ego levels (Browning, 1986; DiNapoli-Pershing, 2002; Noam, Paget, Valiant, Borst, & Bartok, 1994; Recklitis & Noam, 2004; Westenberg & Block, 1993). Findings from a longitudinal study by Krettenauer, Ullrich, Hofmann, and Edelstein (2003) suggest that externalizing problems may inhibit development. Internalizing problems, in contrast, may arise at any level of development, but the specific type or manifestation of these problems can vary by developmental level (e.g., Blatt & Berman, 1990; Borst & Noam, 1993; Westenberg, Siebelink, Warmenhoven, & Treffers, 1999).