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Ego-Resiliecy and Ego-Control

In order to better understand mental health related issues, clinical psychologists often use clinical questionnaires in order to asses patients and better understand some of the particulars of their complaint (or condition).  The most common questionnaire currently used is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).  Responses to this questionnaire have been analysed and Welsh proposed that 2 primary traits underlay responses to this questionnaire.  These two traits remain two of the most frequently used in reference to the questionnaire.  The first, and most important, is Anxiety/Maladjustment, (A-scale) and the second is Repression/Control (R-scale).

Jack Block has long proposed that 2 traits resembling these two scales are the most important traits relating to human emotional health.  The 2 traits that Block proposed are Ego-Resiliency, and Ego-Control.   In what follows, I outline Jack Block's portrayal of the typically Ego-Resilient/ Brittle, and typically Ego-Controlled/ Undercontrolled individuals.  The profiles below, therefore, are prototypical extremes of the various poles of expression.  However, I personally think that anxious individuals can typically display any number of the traits exhibited in Jack Block's portrayal of the prototypical Ego-Brittle individual.  Anxious individuals may diplay many, or only a few of the traits listed.  I will therefore refer to the 'Ego-Brittle' individual as the 'Anxious' individual.  Similarly, as outlined in the 'Fundamental principles of this website' (specifically see 'Anxiety and impulse control') I believe that the anxious individual may display any number of both impulsive ('Ego-Undercontrolled') behaviours, and behaviours that restrict the expression of impulse ('Ego-Controlled' behaviours).(1)


Click on the headings below to be taken to the following pages


  1. Ego-Resilient / Ego-Brittle
  2. Ego-Control
  3. Ego-Undercontrol
  4. How does Ego-Resiliency affect Ego-Control?

1)  I am indebted to the late Jack Block for all of his life's work.  My understanding of Anxiety and emotional health has been primarily imfluenced by Block's work.  I have, however, as is typical of those who are influenced by others, begun to concieve of some of Block's ideas in a slightly different manner.