Is death anxiety more closely linked with optimism or pessimism among older adults?Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2018 Jul - Aug; 77:169-173AG
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether death anxiety is more closely linked with optimism or pessimism among older adults. Participants consisted of community-dwelling older adults (N = 253; 73.1% female) in the southern U.S. Both optimism and pessimism demonstrated a bivariate association with death anxiety; however, when considering optimism and pessimism together-and after controlling for age, gender, physical health, and mental health-optimism was not associated with death anxiety, while pessimism was associated with higher death anxiety. Post hoc analyses found a unique relationship between pessimism and greater fear of the unknown. Perhaps, given the inevitability of death, limiting negative expectancies is more salient to death anxiety than having positive expectancies, and pessimism may be particularly associated with existential and religious concerns.