Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Does exposure to death lead to death acceptance? A terror management investigation in Varanasi, India
by Fernandez-Campos, Silvia, Ph.D., The New School, 2013, 49; 3612082
Abstract (Summary)

Is exposure to death the formula to accept oneĀ“s own demise? The present research tested terror management theory among groups with varying degrees and types of exposures to death from Varanasi to find an answer. Study 1 included 120 funerary workers and 120 farmers. Participants were reminded of their death or a control topic and then reported their level of cultural worldview defense operationalized as attachment and glorification of India and pro-India bias. Farmers increased their worldview defense following death reminders. This increase brought farmers to the same high level of worldview defense displayed, independently from the condition, by funerary workers. This was interpreted as support for the idea that chronic exposure to death leads to a chronic use of cultural worldview defense. Study 2 tested whether a more experiential form of exposure to death involved in going through a terminal illness is the silver bullet to accept death. A group of 30 terminal cancer patients and 30 farmers with no major health concerns from Varanasi completed similar measures as in Study 1. Death reminders increased attachment to India in both groups. These findings suggest that daily exposure to death - at least to dead bodies and illness symptoms - or a Hindu cyclical view of life and death do not lead to death acceptance. Alternative types of exposure to death are offered in the discussion as possible roads to reach death acceptance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Castano, Emanuele, Rubin, Lisa
Commitee: Castano, Emanuele, Gold, David, Miller, Joan, Rubin, Lisa
School: The New School
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Psychology, Experimental psychology
Keywords: Cancer, Death acceptance, Death exposure, Hinduism, India, Terror management
Publication Number: 3612082
ISBN: 9781303732911
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