Traumatic experiences stemming from 'Kuki'-Meitei bloody clash
Death anxiety among displaced inmates in burning Sanaleibak-Kangleipak
- Part 2 -

Chakpram Purnima Devi *

Reasons for High or Low Death Anxiety based on Age

Researchers put forward certain reasons for high and low death anxiety that older people (55-70 years old) had higher rates of death anxiety. In this context, there are several explanations for this : as people are old and are nearer to death, they might think about their mortality more often and this behavior results inincreased fear and anxiety, and death of close friends and spouses might trigger off increased death anxiety.

Higher death anxiety among elderly may be due to more future hopes and expectations, as people during old age are usually exposed to stress and anxiety in this stage due to loss of income, work, health, and prestige. Middle aged individuals experienced greater death anxiety because of discrepancies between their desired and expected time left to live.

Another explanation contended that adolescents tend to portray or feel a sense of invulnerability and invincibility (unconquerable). It indicates that death among adolescents appears to be an event that occurs to other people, but somehow does not happen to them.

The findings of the studies indicated that in most studies (38.50%), death anxiety of young people was found higher; however, 19.23% study found no age differences in death anxiety; 15.40% studies found middle-aged and 11.54% older age having higher death anxiety; 3.85% found decline from middle age to older age; and 11.54% found mixed results.

Considering the findings of several studies, the following hypothesis was tested:

Hypothesis 1: Younger inmates would experience higher death anxiety than older inmates.


Gender is frequently linked to death anxiety, in which women perceived higher death fear and anxiety than men In contrast, gender did not affect death anxiety level. As being male or female does not increase or decrease one's death anxiety in elderly people.

Another variable that is considered to have link to death anxiety is depression in which women are twice as likely as men to display symptoms of depression, particularly during young adulthood and late in life (i.e., after menopause).

Reasons for High or Low Death Anxiety based on Gender

There are many arguments as to why death anxiety is higher in women. A study proposed than in most societies, men are encouraged to pursue success and attain accomplishments which would cultivate the illusion of immortality, while women are not. This illusion is useful as people rely on it to counter and conquer death anxiety. Other researchers declared that because women more readily admit troubling feelings as compared to men, their death anxiety scores are higher.

Other study claimed why females experience higher levels of death anxiety when compared to males can be explained by the process of socialization, in which boys were taught not to complain or cry and thus do not view expressing their feelings as desirable, whereas, girls were taught that it is okay to cryand express their concerns and feelings.

Higher death anxiety among females may be because women have more emotional attachment and concerns about their feelings and thoughts than men. It was also suggested by Abdel-Khalek 1991 that men tend to show themselves stronger in the face of damages and concerns and express their anxiety less.

Regarding, young adults, death anxiety is higher in younger females. Other possible explanations for the gender effect is simply that men are less willing to admit openly to their fears. Or conversely, women may be "closer to their feelings than men".

The results indicated women having higher death anxiety (77.27%) than men, while 22.73% found no significant gender differences in death anxiety. Taking all the studies into account, the following hypothesis was tested:

Hypothesis 2: Female inmates would experience higher death anxiety than male inmates.


Studies found that highly educated individuals had lower death anxiety, while individuals with lower education were more prone to feel depressed and anxious compared to highly educated ones. The findings suggested that higher education is related to the Thought and Volition (free-will) factor. Other study found that death anxiety level increased with the increase in education. People with higher education were found to have moderate death anxiety.

Studies of the relationship between death anxiety and death education have yielded mixed results found that among a sample of college students, courses on death education served to decrease the fear of death, whereas other studies have shown mixed effects of death education on death anxiety.

The findings of some studies reviewed above suggested that education is a good predictor of lower death anxiety.

The findings indicated that most studies (35.71%) found highly educated people having lower death anxiety; (35.71%) found highly educated people; 7.14% found increasing level of death anxiety with the increase in education level; and 21.43% reported mixed results after imparting death education.

Based on the findings of the studies, the following hypo- thesis was tested to determine whether higher education level decreases death anxiety:

Hypothesis 3: The higher the levels of education, the lower will be the death anxiety.


People with low income group have higher level of death anxiety than those with high income group. This is because of many insecurities about their future lives.

Socio-Economic Status (SES) and Death Anxiety: Studies found that people with higher SES had moderate death anxiety. Another study found the occupational groups to be differed significantly in their fear of death of self and dying.

In a study to explore whether those in different occupations differed in their fear of death among firefighters, police officers, students in business administration, and college faculty members, it was found that "overall, the fire fighters and police officers significantly had stronger fears of death and dying than the college faculty and business students".

In another study among nurses giving nursing care to patients with Covid-19 in a hospital in Turkey, it was found to have significantly high death anxiety level.

The results revealed that 62.50% studies found people with higher socio- economic status having moderate levels of death anxiety; 12.50% found low income group having higher death anxiety; and 25.00% found people engaging in life-threatening occupations.

Based on the findings of the studies, the following hypothesis was tested.

Hypothesis: There will be significant differences in death anxiety among people working in organised and unorganised sector, including unemployed partici- pants.


Studies revealed that married respondents have higher death anxiety than unmarried ones. On the other hand, unmarried respondents experienced more death anxiety than married ones, and married older adults have higher levels of death anxiety compared to widowed older adults.

In a study conducted among a Lithuanin University students, it was found no significant difference in death anxiety between single and married participants.

The study found 50% married people having higher death anxiety; 25% found unmarried experiencing more death anxiety; and 25% found no difference in death anxiety between married and unmarried. It suggested that most married people had higher death anxiety than unmarried ones. Considering, the findings of the study the following hypothesis was tested:

Hypothesis: Married inmates would have higher death anxiety than unmarried ones.

To be continued...

* Chakpram Purnima Devi wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a UGC Junior Research Fellow Independent
This article was webcasted on 30 September 2023

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