The Quiet Ego: Motives for Self-Other Balance and Growth in Relation to Well-Being

Heidi A. Wayment, Jack J. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The quiet ego is a way of construing the self that transcends egotism, not by neglecting the self but rather by facilitating a balance of concerns for the self and others as well as by facilitating the growth of the self and others. This study examines whether the Quiet Ego Scale (QES—Wayment et al. in J Happiness Stud 16:999–1033, 2015) correlates significantly with measures that specifically reflect balance and growth in terms of value orientations and motivation, and whether these values and motives can help explain the relation between QES and well-being. We randomly split our sample of 1117 college students into five groups (Ns ranged from 213 to 231) and examined the correlations between QES and measures of values and motives (Ego and Ecosystem Goals—Crocker and Canevello in J Personal Soc Psychol 98:1009–1024, 2008; Growth Motivation Index (GMI)—Bauer et al. in J Happiness Stud 16:185–210, 2015; Universal Values—Schwartz et al. in J Personal Soc Psychol 103:663–668, 2012). As predicted, QES was strongly related to compassionate goal motives, experiential and reflection GMI subscales, and weakly and negatively related to self-image goals. QES was most strongly and consistently correlated with values of universalism, benevolence, and self-direction that reflecting a balance of self- and other-concern. QES was positively (but somewhat inconsistently) correlated with stimulation, achievement, power, security, and tradition, and with hedonism, albeit weakly. QES was unrelated to conformity. A regression analysis found growth and balance motives significantly accounted for much of the shared variance between QES and well-being. Our results underscore the centrality of growth and balance values to the quiet ego construct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-896
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Growth motivation, ecosystem and ecosystem goals
  • Quiet ego
  • Values
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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