RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LIFE STRESS, LEVEL OF EGO IDENTITY, AND AGE OF COMMITMENT TO CENTRAL LIFE STRUCTURE COMPONENTS IN AGE THIRTY TRANSITION CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS PROFESSIONAL MEN

SEAN DOMINIC SAMMON, Fordham University

Abstract

Within the framework of Daniel Levinson's psychosocial theory of adult development in men, this study explored the relationship between ego identity, commitment age, and recent life change stress among 500 Age Thirty Transition Catholic religious professional men. To account further for interindividual variation, other potential contributory variables were also examined.^ The Religious Life Experiences Survey was developed to measure recent life change stress, ego identity was assessed using the Rasmussen Ego Identity Scale, and commitment age was defined operationally as age of first vows/promises.^ As predicted, results demonstrated an inverse relationship between ego identity and percent of recent life change reported as negative. Contrary to expectation, the correlation between percent of recent life change characterized as negative and commitment age was nonsignificant. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that ego identity contributed modestly but significantly to percent of recent life change characterized as negative.^ As expected, a significant positive correlation was demonstrated between ego identity and these two variables: psychosocial maturity and purpose-in-life. A significant negative correlation was found between ego identity and these three variables: trait anxiety, authoritarian orientation, and locus of control. Contrary to expectation, a positive relationship was demonstrated between social desirability and ego identity. The combination of psychosocial maturity, trait anxiety, authoritarian orientation, locus of control, purpose-in-life and social desirability accounted for 43 percent of the variance of the ego identity scores.^ The findings supported these two views: (1) a well-developed identity structure is both a stable frame of reference and also flexible and open to change in society and relationships, and (2) personal doubts about goals and values, career choice, and sexual adequacy make low ego identity individuals more vulnerable to life change.^ Three explanations were offered for the discrepancy between results of the present and previous investigations: (1) methodological differences, (2) structural differences among formation programs of orders and congregations participating in the study, and (3) the ambiguous meaning of commitment age. The correlation between ego identity and social desirability was judged to be significant as a result of the large number of subjects participating in the investigation. Suggestions were made regarding future research. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

SAMMON, SEAN DOMINIC, "RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LIFE STRESS, LEVEL OF EGO IDENTITY, AND AGE OF COMMITMENT TO CENTRAL LIFE STRUCTURE COMPONENTS IN AGE THIRTY TRANSITION CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS PROFESSIONAL MEN" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213256.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213256

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