A multidimensional approach of death anxiety: physical health, gender and psychosocial correlates in a community sample and a clinical sample of Dutch elderly people
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To clarify the concept of death anxiety, three factors of the Multidimensional Model of Fear of Personal Death were explored in Dutch elderly people (n=110). 69 women and 41 men from 60 to 96 years old (mean age 80.7, SD 7.5) were interviewed. The sample was computed out of two smaller samples of either a community (n=49, mean age 78.94, SD 9.53) or a hospital (n= 61, mean age 82.3, SD 4.9). Several potential correlates, including physical health, gender, social support, purpose in life and self-esteem were analysed in separate hierarchical regression analyses for both the clinical sample and the total sample. Results revealed that aforementioned correlates did not predict Fear of the Unknown for Dutch participants. Physical health and purpose in life emerged as predictors of Fear for the Dying Process. Moreover, social support and self-esteem contributed to Fear for Significant Others. Women show higher levels of this final component of death anxiety than men. Findings are reviewed in the light of existing literature. Also, the practical relevance of these findings for an aging population is discussed.