A correlational study between ego development, annihilation anxiety, and adolescent individuation positions

David Andrew Parker, Pace University


The relationship between ego development, annihilation anxiety, and adolescent individuation was explored using archival data of a high school sample of approximately 220 males and 245 females who were part of a 6 year longitudinal study conducted by Pace University. The data for the current study was taken from the 1992 administration and includes 217 subjects. Measures used in this study include Loevinger's Sentence Completion Test, Hurvich's Experience Inventory, and the Profile of Adolescent and Individuation. Ego Development, as measured by the Loevinger's Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WUSCT), and adolescent individuation, as measured by the Profile of Adolescent Individuation (PAI), were conceptualized as the explanatory variables. Annihilation Anxiety, as measured by the Hurvich's Experience Inventory (HEI), was conceptualized as the outcome variable. Analysis of variance and Pearson's Product Moment Correlations were used to examine the relationship between the explanatory measures and the outcome measure. Results reveal that ego development and annihilation anxiety are correlated. Yet when broken down by ego levels and gender, some unexpected findings were observed. Annihilation Anxiety for males did not show a significant change between Pre-Conformist and Post-Conformist ego level groups, while in females it did. Aspects of adolescent depression and individuation correlated significantly with annihilation anxiety. Demoralization, separation distress, self affirmation, idealism, risk taking, grandiosity and loneliness were found to correlate with the annihilation anxiety. Object loyalty did not correlate with the annihilation anxiety. Results indicate that ego development, depression and individuation are related to annihilation anxiety. Such findings provide important information that may aid in the treatment of adolescents and the development of theoretical models.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Parker, David Andrew, "A correlational study between ego development, annihilation anxiety, and adolescent individuation positions" (2002). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3056607.



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