The relationship between hardiness, ego strength, stressors, academic performance and social competence in an adolescent population

Barbara Alice Shaunessy, Pace University


The personality component known as hardiness (Kobasa, 1979) is proposed to have such protective properties. It is comprised of three factors, which together are believed to render one less susceptible to the negative psychological effects of life stressors. The three factors which constitute the hardiness variable are commitment, challenge and control. Commitment refers to the degree to which one is committed to one's own values and purposive life goals, challenge to the degree to which one views adversity as not only a negative experience but as a natural and essential catalyst for growth, and control as in locus of control, internal versus external. Hardiness was measured by the Third Generation Hardiness Scale. Hardiness has been looked at primarily with adults of middle class and white background. One purpose of this study was to explore whether hardiness is a viable construct with regard to adolescents, and secondarily, of varying socioeconomic and racial makeup. Number and degree of life stressors was measured by the Adolescent Perceived Events Scale (APES) (Compas, et al., 1987). A measure of ego strength was obtained vis-a-vis a group administration of selected portions of the Rorschach Test to all subjects. An indicator of academic performance was obtained from an estimate directly obtained from the subjects. Social competence served as the dependent variable, and was measured by the Classroom Conduct Questionnaire (Loranger & Arsenault, 1989), which is a revision of a much longer measure of social competence based on the work of Milburn (1974). It was hypothesized that (1) Hardiness would predict a level of social competence above and beyond that portion of the variance accounted for by selected demographic variables, stress and academic performance; (2) There would be a significant interaction effect between hardiness and stress on levels of social competence. The first hypothesis was supported, with the individual components which comprise hardiness accounting for a larger portion of the variance on social competence than the other variables. The second hypothesis was unrealized, however, with no significant interaction effect found between stress and hardiness on social competence. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)

Subject Area

Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Shaunessy, Barbara Alice, "The relationship between hardiness, ego strength, stressors, academic performance and social competence in an adolescent population" (1992). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9234293.



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