Filial Anxiety and Self-Actualization

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

P.J. Faulkender

Advisor Department



This study examined the relationship between self-actualization and filial anxiety. The relationship between age, gender, and filial anxiety was also investigated. The 271 participants were between the ages of 19 and 55 years and consisted of undergraduate students and relatives of students. The Filial Anxiety Scale (FAS) was used to assess filial anxiety (Cicirelli, 1988). The FAS consists of two subscales: FAA and FAB. The FAA subscale is believed to measure an adult child's anxiety about the ability to meet caregiving responsibilities for a parent. The FAB subscale measures the adult child's anxiety over the aging parent's welfare. The two main scales from the Personal Orientation Inventory, Time Competence (Tc) and Inner Direction (Id) were used to assess self-actualization (Shostrom, 1964). As predicted, negative correlations were found in the following relationships: Tc/FAB, Id/FAA, and Id/FAB. Post-hoc analyses indicated gender differences in these correlations. Specifically, the correlations between Id/FAA and Id/FAB were significant for women but not significant for men. To investigate the relationship between age, gender, and FAA/FAB, participants were divided into four age groups: 19-27, 28-34, 35-45, and 46-55. Although the mean scores varied with age group, an ANOVA on FAA scores resulted in no main effects for age or gender on FAA and no interaction effect. However, women's scores did generally increase with age, but men's FAA scores did not. An ANOVA on FAB resulted in main effects for gender and age and no interaction effect. Women exhibited significantly higher FAB scores than men. A trend analysis for the entire sample indicated that the relationship between age and FAB was linear. The findings indicate that one aspect of filial anxiety, FAB, is related to age, while the other aspect, FAA, may not significantly relate to age. These results may be useful in identifying the relevant issues for adult children at various stages of life.