The Existential Concerns Questionnaire (ECQ)–Development and Initial Validation of a New Existential Anxiety Scale in a Nonclinical and Clinical Sample

Vincent van Bruggen, Peter ten Klooster, Gerben Westerhof, Joël Vos, Elian de Kleine, Ernst Bohlmeijer, Gerrit Glas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Existential anxiety (EA) is a construct that refers to fears that are provoked by core threats of human existence, such as death, meaninglessness, and fundamental loneliness. The objective of this study was to develop an EA measure that can be used in research and clinical practice. Method: The Existential Concerns Questionnaire (ECQ) was completed by a nonclinical sample of 389 adults, together with questionnaires measuring death anxiety, intolerance of uncertainty, neuroticism, distress, meaning, and life events. Adaptations were made based on item analysis and factor analysis. A total of 99 adults who had an anxiety and/or depressive disorder completed the final version. Results: The ECQ was demonstrated to be essentially unidimensional and showed good reliability and stability. Correlations with other measures were within the expected range of strength, except for a weak association with life events. Conclusion: Initial results regarding the psychometric properties of the ECQ are promising.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1692-1703
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of clinical psychology
Issue number12
Early online date3 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • anxiety
  • death anxiety
  • existential
  • psychopathology
  • questionnaire development

Cite this