Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Jacob Shane

Committee Members

Timothy Ricker

Curtis Hardin

Subject Categories

Cognitive Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Development Studies | Health Psychology | Theory and Philosophy


Well-Being, Self, Development, Psychedelic, Integration, Intervention, Transformation


The eudaimonic field of well-being is founded on the idea that self-knowledge and the realization of one’s potential is at the heart of what it means to strive for well-being. While the “self” is at the core of this perspective, theories derived from this field have yet to incorporate neurocognitive conceptualizations of the self, and account for the collection of self-referential cognitions that influence striving for well-being. Such a theory and measure could fill this theoretical gap and be applied in person centered interventions to capture change in these processes over time. One such intervention utilizes psychedelic experience as a window of opportunity for integration (continued processing and meaning making) to generate lasting change in self-related beliefs. Therefore, the first part of the dissertation developed the 30-item Narrative Self-Functioning Scale (NSFS) with dimensions of Self-Insight, Self-Regulation, Self-Attitudes, Connected Self, and Existential Self, which was filled out by undergraduate students (N=347) in an online self-report survey. Scale refinement led to a final 15-item version that evidenced good reliability, as well as good convergent, discriminant, and criterion validity. The second part of the dissertation then applied this measure as a mediator between psychedelic integration and optimal well-being (Characteristics of Self-Actualization); a structural model that was tested on a sample of psychedelic users from 46 different countries (N=748) and did not differ based on mental health status. And finally, part three incorporated Set and Setting as well as Ego-Dissolution as variables in a holistic model of psychedelic transformation evaluated with follow-up participants from part two. The present dissertation offers a novel measure of Narrative Self-Functioning, as well as a promising unified and holistic model of psychedelic transformation. Given the methodological limitations of the dissertation, future research should aspire for a longitudinal design with novice psychedelic users to establish greater predictive validity. Future research should also investigate different forms of self-transcendent experiences as well as include a measure that can better account for the variations in the phenomenology of acute psychedelic states.