THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DEATH ANXIETY AND THE SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE OF TIME IN THE ELDERLY

PATRICK KAYE QUINN, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study explored the relationship between subjects' measured level of anxiety about death and both their measured sense of purposefulness in life and their measured personal experience of time controlling for the effects of subjects' general anxiety and social desirability set. Subjects were 145 women aged 60-85, members of senior citizens clubs in suburban New Jersey, who agreed to complete a booklet of questionnaires at home and return them anonymously.^ The instruments administered were the following: the Templer Death Anxiety Scale, Purpose-in-Life Test, Time Metaphors Test, Ricks-Epley-Wessman Temporal Experience Questionnaire, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale. A standard demographic questionnaire was also included.^ As hypothesized, subjects high in measured death anxiety were found to be more likely to express less sense of purposefulness to their lives, to express a sense that time is moving forward, to express a sense of feeling harassed and pressured by the passage of time, to express a sense of discontinuity and lack of direction in their lives, to express an inclination to procrastinate and be inefficient in their use of time and to report a disposition towards being inconsistent.^ For the most part, the relationship between death anxiety and the other variables held even when the effects of general anxiety and social desirability were partialed out. The major exceptions to this were the correlations between death anxiety and the measures of personal futurity and time utilization. Personal futurity was found to be affected by trait anxiety. Time utilization was found to be influenced by trait anxiety and by social desirability.^ Most of the demographic variables measured (particular club, age, marital status, religion) were not found to influence subjects' responses on any of the measures. However, subjects were found to vary on some measures as a function of perceived health and work history.^ Persons who reported themselves to be in much better health tended to express a greater sense of purpose in their lives, to express more sense of continuity in their lives, to express a greater tendency to be methodical and organized and to express lower levels of anxiety.^ Retired subjects were found to express less tendency to report feeling harassed by the passage of time and to express a greater sense of continuity in their lives than were subjects who had been housewives most of their adult life. ^

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

QUINN, PATRICK KAYE, "THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DEATH ANXIETY AND THE SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE OF TIME IN THE ELDERLY" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8219259.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8219259

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