Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Anne McIntyre

Committee Members

Al Burstein, Charles Reynolds, Bill Calhoun



The construct “ego” is used within different theoretical models. Various models, however, differ in the inclusiveness of functions subsumed under this construct. The psychoanalytic ego construct is conceptually similar to one proposed by Jane Loevinger in that both subsume aspects of cognition, delay in the gratification of conscious wishes, and social relations. They differ in that the analytic ego is uniquely assumed to mediate aspects of adaptive functioning and the regulation of affective and instinctual demands, while Loevinger's ego is uniquely assumed to mediate character style and the content of consciousness. Comparisons of tests designed to measure the two model's ego constructs should, therefore, reflect this pattern of conceptual similarity and dissimilarity.

The Barron Ego Strength and six conceptually independent measures derived from the Rorschach (using the Burstein -Loucks scoring system) were selected to measure the psychoanalytic ego construct, and the Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WUSCT) was selected to measure Loevinger's ego construct. High correlations were predicted between the Barron and some of the six Rorschach measures, while only moderate correlations were predicted between the WUSCT and the psychoanalytic ego measures. All of the tests were administered to 42 nonclinical foster adolescents. A mode rate but significant correlation was found between the WUSCT and a Rorschach variable designed to measure the adaptive use of imagination. No other significant correlations were found. The distribution of the foster adolescent’s WUSCT scores was compared to other research samples of clinical and nonclinical home reared adolescents. Implications for the use of the tests as measures of “ego” and the conceptual similarity of the ego constructs, as well as differences among the samples of adolescent’s WUSCT scores and their implications for foster care were discussed.

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