Life Satisfaction and Death Concern in the Elderly


Death -- Psychological aspects, Health attitudes, Old age, Older people -- Psychology, Religiousness, Satisfaction (Psychology)


This study investigated the relationship between life satisfaction and death concern in the elderly as a function of age, self-reported health status, and religious involvement in order to examine the concept of ego integrity as porposed by Erikson (1963). Eighty-one subjects were recruited from the Good Samaritan Retirement Village in Kissimmee, Florida, and were divided into two groups: (1) the younger-old group which consisted of 42 individuals between the ages of 65 and 75, and (2) the older-old group which consisted of 39 individuals over the age of 75 years old. All subjects were administered the Life Satisfaction Index A (Neugarten, Havighurst, & Tobin, 1961), the Death concern Scale (Dickstein, 1972), a self-reported health measure and religious involvement measure developed by the investigators. Two factors from the Death Concern Scale, the negative evaluation of the reality of Death and the conscious contemplation od death, were also examined in relation to life satisfaction, self-reported health staus, and religious involvement. The results obtained through Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients demonstrated significant inverse relationships between life satisfaction and death concern and between life satisfaction and the conscious contemplation of death for both the older-old and younger-old groups. Self-reported health status was also noted to be significantly related to lfe satisfaction and death concern for the younger-old group. analyses of t tests for independent groups yielded no significant differences on the six dependent measures between the two age groups. No significant sex differences were noted for either age group. The results support the concept of ego integrity indicating that those individuals who are more satisified with their lives also tend to be less concerned about death. The measures utilized in this study were noted to be reliable across age groups. It is suggested that future research examine differences between present and past life satisfaction in relation to death attitudes.


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Graduation Date





Tucker, Richard


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences



Degree Program

Clinical Psychology




32 p.



Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


BF789.D4 K31

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