Ego virtues were assessed by the Psychosocial Inventory of Ego Strengths (PIES; Markstrom et al.
While the student relationships variable was not associated with identity achievement or diffusion, student relationships were indirectly related to academic outcomes through the ego strengths.
The question must be asked as to why results would suggest that student relationships are associated with ego strengths but not with identity achievement or diffusion.
The connections between identity achievement, diffusion, and the ego strengths represent the most powerful component of this study's findings.
Broadly stated, the "crisis" symptoms, as formulated by Erikson and as captured in the IEC factor, include reduced Ego Strength (negative loading of the Ego Strength scale), impulsivity and acting-out (positive loadings of Psychopathic Deviate, Hypomania, and McAndrew Alcoholism), heightened physical and somatic complaints (positive loading of Hypochondriasis and Hysteria).
The associations among the factor scores are all in the hypothesized direction, with only Ego Strength showing a negative association, as predicted.
The decline in ego strength implies a reduced capacity for coping with problems and stress.