The interaction of selected personality characteristics with ego identity

Elizabeth Balistreri, Fordham University


The present study examined the relationship between ego identity and various personality characteristics. A new self-report inventory of identity that avoids the shortcomings of previous measures was developed. The Ego Identity Status Questionnaire (EISQ) consists of 32 items which assess the dimensions of exploration and commitment in eight areas: occupation, religion, politics, values, family, friendships, dating, and sex roles. It was hypothesized that the measure would include two factors: exploration and commitment. The EISQ was expected to assign individuals to the same identity statuses as Marcia's interview, to be related to age and school year, and to show differences among the statuses on various personality characteristics. Two models of how the personality characteristics interact with identity were tested via structural equation modeling techniques. Both models proposed that age, authoritarianism, and locus of control would influence identity, which would influence psychological adjustment (anxiety and self-esteem). The models differed in that one predicted that sex-role orientation would mediate the relationship between identity and adjustment. The subjects were 130 male and 130 female college students; most were administered the EISQ, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale, the authoritarian submission and conventionality subscales of the California Fascism scale, Rotter's Internal-External Scale, Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Thirty subjects were given Marcia's interview and the EISQ. The two-factor solution was confirmed, and the association with Marcia's interview was significant. The relationship of identity with age and college experience was weak, however. Identity achievements and foreclosures had higher self-esteem than moratoriums. Identity achievements showed more internal locus of control than moratoriums. Identity achievements obtained higher masculinity than both diffusions and moratoriums. Foreclosures also scored higher on masculinity than diffusions. In LISREL analyses, age and locus of control predicted commitment for females, while authoritarianism predicted commitment for males only. Commitment predicted adjustment more often than did exploration. Masculinity was not a significant predictor. In addition to correlational analyses, the overall results suggest that commitment was better at differentiating people on certain personality characteristics than was exploration.

Subject Area

Psychological tests|Personality

Recommended Citation

Balistreri, Elizabeth, "The interaction of selected personality characteristics with ego identity" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8918634.