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Nagera, H. (1967). The Concepts of Structure and Structuralization—Psychoanalytic Usage and Implications for a Theory of Learning and Creativity. Psychoanal. St. Child, 22:77-103.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 22:77-103

The Concepts of Structure and Structuralization—Psychoanalytic Usage and Implications for a Theory of Learning and Creativity

Humberto Nagera, M.D.

The need for the conceptual clarification undertaken in this paper arose from the application of the developmental Profile (diagnostic Profile) to a large number of children with a wide range of psychopathology studied and treated at the Hampstead Clinic. The ambiguity of some terms and assumptions of the structural theory as formulated for the adult personality hindered to some extent our progress in the understanding of the normal and psychopathological processes in the development of children. I believe that clarification of our conceptual tools and present theories in respect of so important an area of the personality as that represented by the ego structure cannot fail to help in furthering our understanding of the normal and the psychopathological processes of children at any given age. The significant role played by the ego in normal adaptation, in the solution of conflicts, in symptom formation, etc. justifies this attempt.


The term structure derives from the Latin structura meaning to build.

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