Death anxiety and voluntary passive euthanasia: Influences of proximity to death and experiences with death in important other persons

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86 young and 62 elderly non-life-threatened and 63 elderly life-threatened persons (mean ages 19.5, 71.0, and 74.8 yrs, respectively) were given a standardized interview that included the Death Anxiety Scale (DAS). Age, but not health, was related to death anxiety. A significant Proximity to Death by Experience with Death in Important Others interaction occurred for both death anxiety and attitude toward voluntary passive euthanasia when the experience factor involved participants' most meaningful experiences. Principal-components analysis identified 5 sources of death anxiety (accounting for 56.7% of DAS variance): Fear of Personal Death, Concerns about Suffering and Lingering Death, Subjective Proximity to Death, Death-Related Fears, and Disturbing Death Thoughts. Significant relationships were observed between each of these and the experimental factors. A significant correlation between death anxiety and attitude toward voluntary passive euthanasia was noted among elderly persons. Results are consistent with an idiographic orientations toward death perspective. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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