Collective and Personal Annihilation Anxiety: Measuring Annihilation Anxiety AA


AA is defined in the psychoanalytic literature as fear of impending psychic or physical destruction that is triggered by personal survival threats. Little or no attention in the psychoanalytic literature was given to collective or group survival threats. We developed a short measure for AA that includes both kinds of survival threats. We used a clinical sample of 399 mental health clients and measures for cumulative trauma, PTSD, cumulative trauma related disorders, depression and anxiety. We conducted confirmatory factor analysis, multiple regressions, and path analysis. The developed short measure has good reliability, strong divergent and predictive validity and generally fit the theoretical assumptions that underlie the construct. The measure can be useful in clinical screening, and in psychological and political research, especially with the multiply traumatized. Subsequent research that utilized the measure replicated the findings.

Share and Cite:

Kira, I. , Templin, T. , Lewandowski, L. , Ramaswamy, V. , Ozkan, B. , Mohanesh, J. & Hussam, A. (2012). Collective and Personal Annihilation Anxiety: Measuring Annihilation Anxiety AA. Psychology, 3, 90-99. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.31015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Arbuckle, J. L. (2006). Amos 7.0 User’s Guide. Chicago: SPSS.
[2] Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of con-trol. New York, NY: Freeman.
[3] Borg, D. (2003). An investiga-tion of the relationship between levels of formal decrement, ego functioning and annihilation anxiety in Rorschach protocols. Disser-tation Abstracts International: Section B: The sciences and Engi-neering, 64, 1892.
[4] Cassidy-Charron, D. (2003). The relation-ship between stimulus receptivity, organizational ability and annihi-lation anxiety. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 64, 1894.
[5] Cassiman, S. A. (2005). Toward more inclusive poverty knowledge: Traumatological contri-butions to the poverty discourse. The Social Policy Journal, and: Cutting Edge of Social Policy Research, 4, 93- 106.
[6] Chochinov, H., Wilson, K., Enns, M., & Lander, S. (1997). “Are you depressed?” Screening for depression in the terminally ill. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 674-676.
[7] Cialdini, R. B., Borden, R. J., Thorne, A., Walker, M. R., Freeman, S., & Sloan, L. (1976). Basking in re-flected glory: Three football field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 366-375. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.34.3.366
[8] Erceg-Hurn, D. & Mirosevich, V. (2008). Modern robust statistical methods: An easy way to maxi-mize the accuracy and power of your research. American Psycholo-gist, 63, 591-601. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.63.7.591
[9] Garwood, A. (1996). The Holocaust and the power of powerlessness: Survivor guilt an un-healed wound. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 13, 243-258. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0118.1996.tb00880.x
[10] Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cut-off criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1-55. doi:10.1080/10705519909540118
[11] Hurvich, M. (2003). The places of annihilation anxieties in psychoanalytic theory. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 51, 579-616. doi:10.1177/00030651030510020801
[12] Hurvich, M. (1998). Scoring manual for the hurvich experience inventory. Unpublished.
[13] Kira, I. (2001). Taxonomy of trauma and trauma assessment. Traumatology, l-2, 1-14.
[14] Kira, I. (2002). Suicide terror and col-lective trauma: A collective terror management paradigm. The American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Chicago, Illinois, APA PsycNet.
[15] Kira, I. (2004a). The dynamics of iden-tity trauma: Suicide and suicide terror. The XXVIII International Congress of Psychology, Beijing, China.
[16] Kira, I. (2004). Cu-mulative trauma disorder: A new scale for complex PTSD. The XXVIII International Congress of Psychology, Beijing, China.
[17] Kira, I. (2006). Collective identity terror in the Is-raeli-Palestinian conflict and potential solutions. In Judy Kuriansky (Ed.), Terror in the Holy land: Inside the anguish of Is-raeli-Palestinian Conflict (pp. 125-130). Westport, CT: Prae-ger.
[18] Kira, I., Nasser, A., Abou-Median, S., Mohanesh, J., Lewandowski, L., Ramaswamy, V., Ozkan, B., & Elamia, H. (2007). Identity salience: The contribution of trauma variables, collective identity commitment CIC, and Militancy CIM to suicidality: The Palestinians Case. The American Psychological Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, APA PsycNet.
[19] Kira, I., Lewandowsk, L., Templin, T., Ramaswamy, V., Ozkan, B., & Mo-hanesh, J. (2008a). Measuring Cumulative Trauma Dose, Types and Profiles Using a Development-Based Taxonomy of Trauma. Trau-matology, 14, 62-87. doi:10.1177/1534765608319324
[20] Kira, I. A., Lewandowski, L., Templin, T. N., Ramaswamy, V., Chiodo, L. M., Ozkan, B., & Mohanesh, J. (2008b). Measuring cumulative trauma dose, types, and profiles using a development-based taxon-omy of traumas: The long version. American Psychological Associa-tion: APA PsycNET.
[21] Kira, I., Templin, T., Lewandowski, L., Ramaswamy, V., Bulent, O., Abu-Mediane, S., Mohanesh, J., & Alamia, H. (2011a). Cumulative tertiary appraisal of traumatic events across cultures: Two studies. Journal of Loss and Trauma: Interna-tional Perspectives on Stress & Coping, 16, 43-66.
[22] Kira, I., Alawneh, A. N., Aboumediane, S., Mohanesh, J., Ozkan, B., & Ala-mia, H. (2011b). Identity Salience and Its Dynamics in Palestinians Adolescents. Psychology, 2, 781-791. doi:10.4236/psych.2011.28120
[23] Koepele, K., & Teixeira, M. (2000). Annihilation anxiety: A metapsychological exploration of D. W. Winnicott’s the Piggle. Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy, 17, 229-256.
[24] Lovibond, S., & Lovibond, P. (1995). Manual for the depression, anxiety, stress scales. Sydney: Psychology Foundation.
[25] Olsen, P. (1984). Nuclear annihilation and the mechanisms of defense. Transactional Analysis Journal, 14, 217-224.
[26] Petot, J. (1976). Anxiety and existence. Perspectives Psychiatriques, 56, 97-109.
[27] MacCallum, R. C., & Austin, J. T. (2000). Applications of Structural Equation Modeling in psychological research. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 201-226. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.201
[28] Mackie, D., Devos, T., & Smith, E. (2002). Intergroup emotions: Explaining offensive action tendencies in an Intergroup context. Journal of Personality and So-cial Psychology, 79, 602-616. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.79.4.602
[29] Miller, D. (2001). Posttrau-matic stress disorder, annihilation anxiety, and psychosocial devel-opment: Dynamics and interplay. Dissertation Abstracts Interna-tional: Section B: The sciences and Engineering, 61, 3853.
[30] Mulrow, C. D., Williams, J. W., Gerety, M. B., Ramirez, G., Montiel, O. M., & Kerber, K. (1995). Case-finding instruments for depression in primary care settings. Annals of Internal Medicine, 122, 913-921.
[31] Norman, J. (1994). Feelings of annihilation in closeness and to be lost at a distance: Psychoanalysis with a 5-year-old boy and his insoluble dilemma. Scandinavian Psychoana-lytic Review, 17, 1-26.
[32] Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385-401. doi:10.1177/014662167700100306
[33] Segal, H. (1972). A delu-sional system as a defense against the re- emergence of a catastrophic situation. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 53, 393-401.
[34] Smith, E. R. (1999). Affective and cognitive implica-tions of a group becoming part of the self: New models of prejudice and of the self-concept. In D. Abrams & M. A. Hogg (Eds.), Social identity and social cognition (pp. 183-196). Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell.
[35] Teixeira, M. (1984). Annihilation anxiety in schizophrenia: Metaphor or dynamic? Psychotherapy: Theory, Re-search, Practice, Training, 12, 377-381. doi:10.1037/h0086100
[36] Turner, J. C. (1985). Social categoriza-tion and the self-concept: A social-cognitive theory of group behav-ior. In E. J. Lawler (Ed.), Advances in group processes: Theory and research (Vol. 2, pp. 77-122). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
[37] Wanous, J. & Hudy, M. J. (2001). Single-item reliability: A replication and extension. Organizational Research Methods, 4, 361-375. doi:10.1177/109442810144003

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.