Predicting Ego Strength Based on God Image, God Concept, Self-Image and Self Concept

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
This study aimed to identify the role of God Image, God Concept, self-image and self-concept in ego strength among university students. The method of this research was descriptive and correlational. The participants were 250 university students from Tehran University and Shahed University, which were selected by convenience sampling. God-image/Self-image Questionnaire for Spiritual Interventions and Ego Questionnaire was used to collect data. The data were analyzed using multiple regression analysis. The multiple regression showed that this regression model is significant and the variance percentage of change is significant for the sub-results of hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, care, and wisdom. Based on the results, the God concept and self-concept predict ego strength and its sub-scales positively. Also, self-image and God image predicted ego strength and its subscales in negatively. These findings show the importance of the discussion of God-oriented spirituality in predicting ego strength
Erikson defines ego strength as the traits that motivate people in successive stages of life. Ego strength encompasses eight qualities of hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, care, and wisdom (Markstrom et al, 1997; Markstrom & Marshal, 2007). Ego strength is related to religiosity and spirituality (Robinette & Puffer, 2018). One of the most important variables in spiritual affairs is the discussion of God image, God-concept, self-image, and self-concept (Janbozorgi, 2019).  God-image is when we imagine God from experiences and learning or an unrealistic image of God (Janbozorgi & Sarabadani, 2020) and has an emotional and experimental nature (Moriarty & Hoffman, 2013). In contrast, God concept refers to how God presents himself or the real concept of God (Janbozorgi & Sarabadani, 2020). Also, self-image is the way we perceive and internalize from the perspective of others, and self-concept is the way we perceive from the inside and is consistent with reality. (Janbozorgi & Sarabadani, 2020. The present study aimed to investigate the role of God-concept, God-image, self-concept, and self-image in ego strength and its subscales. The research hypothesis was as follows:1. God image predicts ego strength negatively. 2. Self-image ego strength negatively. 3. God concept predicts ego strength positively. 4. Self-concept predicts ego strength positively.
This study was an applied study in terms of its aim and descriptive-correlation design. The population of this research included all students of Tehran University and Shahed University of Tehran in the academic year 1400-1401.  Convenient sampling was used to select the participants. For the sample size, James Stevens' suggestion in multiple regression analysis is 15 items for each variable (Hooman, 2016). Thus, a number of 250 students from Shahed University and Tehran University were recruited. To enter this research, people needed to have the following conditions: being a student, agreeing to participate in the research, having patience, and having enough time to fill out the questionnaires. Data collection instruments included God-image and self-image questionnaires for spiritual interventions and ego-strength questionnaires. The participants answered the questions using the questionnaire link on the Risloo website. The data were analyzed using multiple regression with SPSS 26.
The mean and standard deviation of the age of the participants were 58.24 and 5.1.  Also, 56% of the participants were women and 44% were men. The distribution of the column graph of the variables was visually almost normal. The regression tests were used as the key statistical procedure.
The model of ego strength’s total score based on God-image, God-concept, self-image, and self-concept explained 47.9% of the variance of ego strength changes. Also, due to Durbin-Watson's statistic, the hypothesis of the non-existence of autocorrelation between errors was confirmed because its value was between 1.5 and 2.5. Additional information is provided in Table 1.
Table 1
 Summary of Regressions for Variables Predicting Ego Strength




Adjusted R 2











According to Table 2, we can see that the standard coefficients of the God-concept were .22, God-image -0.1, self-image -0.33, and self-concept 0.55. Therefore, all of the hypotheses about ego strength total score were confirmed. That is, God-image and self-image predicted ego-strength negatively, while self-concept and God-concept predicted Ego strength total score positively.
Table 2
 Regressions Coefficient of Variables Predicting Ego Strength



Unstandardized Coefficients

Standardized Coefficients




Std. Error





































*P<0.05     ** P<0.01  

Also, the research model explained 36.1% of the variance of hope, 31.8% of the variance of will, 37% of the variance of purpose, 31.2% of the variance of competence, 29.1% of the variance of fidelity, 16.6% of the variance of love, 9.9% of the variance of care, 33/5 % of the variance of wisdom. According to the value of the Durbin-Watson regression statistic of all subscales, the hypothesis of the non-existence of autocorrelation between errors in all subscales was confirmed because its value is between 1.5 and 2.5.
According to the regression results, the first hypothesis was confirmed only for the subscales of hope, will, fidelity, and wisdom. The second hypothesis was confirmed in the prediction of all the subscales of Ego strength. Moreover, the third hypothesis was confirmed for the subscales of hope, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, care, and wisdom. The fourth hypothesis was confirmed for all subscales.
The results showed that God-concept and self-concept positively and self-image negatively predicted the total score of ego strength and most of its subscales. God-image negatively predicted some subscales. These findings are in line with the research of Abboud and Idri (2020), Markstrom (1999), James et al. (2020), and Robinet and Puffer (2018). Spiritual identity, which consists of a person's perception of self and God, predicted Erikson's identity, and the correct perception of God and self, which is in the form of conceptual, is a positive predictor, and imaginary perception is a negative predictor (Janbozorgi, 2019). The ego strength and identity are influenced and loyal to the ideology system and value system and religious beliefs. (Markstrom et al., 1997; Markstrom & Marshal, 2007)
 In Erikson's view, some ego strengths, such as love and hope, show the satisfactory relationship of individuals with others and are also related to the individual's satisfaction with God (Robinette & Puffer, 2018) Accordingly, the God-concept and self-concept, which is the real path of a person's perception of self and God, can predict hope and love, which shows a trusting and satisfactory relationship with others. This is because true perception of God and self creates trust and satisfaction (Janbozorgi, 2019). In other words, the God-concept and self-concept cause the formation of a healthy and real identity, while the God-image and self-image cause the formation of an imaginary and unhealthy identity. Therefore, on this basis, God-concept and self-concept predict ego strength and its sub-scales positively while self-image and God-image predict it negatively (Janbozorgi, 2019).
The limitations of the current study included the online data collection due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that the research was carried out with a university student sample. Also, one of the suggestions of the present study is to retest the hypotheses in non-virtual conditions and with the presentation of pencil and paper questionnaires among non-student samples.
Ethical Consideration
Compliance with Ethical Guidelines: All ethical issues like informed consent and confidentiality of participants' identifications were compiled based on the ethical committee of Shahed University.
Authors' Contributions: All authors contributed to the study. The first author wrote the first draft of the manuscript. The second and third authors edited the manuscript and the second author is the corresponding author.
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest for this study.
Funding: This study was conducted with no financial support and is part of the M.A. thesis of the first author.
Acknowledgment: The authors thank all participants in the study
Positive Psychology Research, Volume:9 Issue: 2, 2023
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