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Death Anxiety

Death Anxiety And Behavior

The few studies relating death anxiety and behavior suggest that caregivers who are comfortable with death are more likely to interact positively with the terminally ill, to speak directly and honestly about death, and to be emotionally comforting and supportive to others in need. In contrast, high levels of death anxiety may influence people to avoid seeking needed medical attention or to plan appropriately for their own and others' medical care (e.g., by refusing to consider or execute advanced directives, which are documents such as living wills or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care that provide a person some control about how terminal features of their medical care should be handled). High death anxiety can also create missed opportunities to help others, such as someone who is bereaved and needs to speak about their feelings or children struggling to understand and cope with death-related experiences.



DURLAK, J. A., and RIESENBERG, L. A. "The Impact of Death Education." Death Studies 15 (1991): 39–58.

NEIMEYER, R. A., ed. Death Anxiety Handbook: Research, Instrumentation, and Application. Washington, D.C.: Taylor and Francis, 1994.

NEIMEYER, R. A., and VANBRUNT, D. "Death Anxiety." In Dying: Facing the Facts, 3d ed. Edited by H. Wass and R. A. Neimeyer. Washington, D.C.: Taylor and Francis, 1995. Pages 49–88.

RING, K. Life at Death: A Scientific Investigation of the Near-Death Experience. New York: Quill, 1982.

SPELDER, L. A., and STRICKLAND, A. L. The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying, 5th ed. Mountain View, Calif.: Mayfield Publishing.

TOKUNUGA, H. T. "The Effect of Bereavement upon Death Related Attitudes and Fears." Omega 16 (1985): 267–280.

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1Death Anxiety - What Is Death Anxiety?, Correlates Of Death Anxiety, Assessing And Changing Death Anxiety, Death Anxiety And Behavior