Goebel & Boeck (1987) operationalized ego integrity as a combination of reminiscence, life satisfaction, and developmental task achievement. They measured the level of ego integrity with a 28-item integrity versus despair scale consisting of seven items from each of four instruments used by earlier researchers to measure the individual variables. The fear of death was measured by 12 items from Templer's Death Anxiety Scale, and the type of residence (i.e. institution or apartment) was also factored in. These tests were administered to 51 adults ages 70-90 from a nursing home and an apartment complex.
The results supported the hypothesis that high ego integrity was related to lower fear of death. Subjects who scored high on the measures of ego integrity had less fear of death regardless of type of residence, whereas subjects with low ego integrity scores had a much greater fear of death when living in an institution than when living on their own (Goebel & Boeck, 1987). This suggests that ego integrity is, in fact, a powerful asset in coping with the ultimate stressor - death.
Goebel & Boeck (1987) theorized that people with high ego integrity have a stronger internal support system which helps them compensate for the reduced external supports in an institutional setting. Conversely, individuals with low ego integrity are more dependent on external support and tend not to c