The Contribution of Faith and Ego Strength to the Prediction of GPA among High School Students


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Virginia Tech


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which measures of ego strength, as conceived by Erikson (1963a) and operationalized by Markstrom, Sabino, Turner and Berman (1997), contribute to the prediction of academic achievement of high school students. At issue was whether the ego strength variables enhance prediction beyond that provided by selected demographic variables and two measures of religiosity: faith participation and faith importance.

Participants included 121 Black and 131 White students of Virginia. They were in the ninth through twelfth grades and were attending a single high school in the Tidewater area of Virginia. They were administered a questionnaire that included several demographic questions, two questions regarding religion in their lives, and five subscales from the Psychosocial Inventory of Ego Strength (PIES) developed by Markstrom et al. (1997). These variables were used in a series of hierarchical regression analyses to predict grade-point-average (GPA) which was obtained from the permanent school records of each student.

Significant relationships were found between and among the five psychosocial ego strengths. Several relationships were found between students’ psychosocial ego strength attributes and parents’ educational levels. A positive significant relationship was found between the total ego strength and academic achievement. Some differences were found between race and the Hope subscale, faith participation, and faith importance. Race was also found to be a significant influence on the predictive relationships between psychosocial total ego strength and academic achievement. Total ego strength was found to be a significant predictor of academic achievement.

The essential finding of the study was that ego strength measures explained approximately 10% of the variance in GPA above that already accounted for by the demographic variables and the two religiosity variables. The items measuring the importance of faith and participation in faith activities did not contribute to the prediction of GPA, except for faith participation among Black students.



academic achievement, adolescents, ego strength, psychosocial development, faith