Exploring the relationship between losing a loved one and fearing death
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The barely-studied relationship between the loss of a loved one and fearing death was examined. The centrality of the loss-event, attachment style and purpose in life were taken into account as possible moderators of this relationship. General anxiety was measured in order to explore the degree to which it accounts for death anxiety. A total of 150 Dutch students, 108 women and 42 men, filled in the questionnaire. No relationship between losing a loved one and death anxiety was found. However, results indicate a relationship between the centrality of the loss-event and fear of death for those who experienced a loss recently, less than 14 months before. This relationship is not moderated by attachment style or purpose in life. Furthermore, the distinctiveness of death anxiety from general anxiety is demonstrated. The complicated nature of personal loss and death anxiety are stressed, and careful examination of different types of loss and different samples is advised.