Acceptance, Loss, and Death Attitudes



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The awareness of mortality is undeniably emotion provoking. A person’s attitude toward death has a strong predictive impact on psychological wellbeing. Therefore, it is important to understand factors that shape these attitudes. The primary aim of this study was to explore the influence of exposure to death through human loss on death attitudes from an ACT framework. Specifically, the study sought to understand how characteristics of the loss (i.e., cause of death, relationship to deceased, relationship closeness) impact death attitudes. Data was collected from 226 individuals that have experienced a loss of another human. The survey utilized standardized measures including the Death Attitudes Profile-Revised, Multidimensional Psychological Flexibility Inventory, and Religious Commitment Inventory-10 to investigate differences in death attitudes across varying demographics (age, religion, SES) when considering characteristics of the loss and specific ACT processes. Correlation analyses revealed greater number of losses experienced to be associated with lower levels of fear and greater levels of acceptance toward death. Hierarchical regression analyses found age, traumatic losses, ACT processes (acceptance and values), and commitment to religion, to be significant predictors of neutral acceptance attitudes toward death. Additionally, age and acceptance were significant predictors of death avoidance. Results have implications for the importance of individuals to intentionally be mindful of mortality and engage with the death and dying process of significant others. Exposure to and active awareness of death will increase overall acceptance and mortality. Further, the present study hypothesizes ACT as a potential intervention for negative attitudes toward death and psychological disorders where negative death attitudes essentially contribute to the maintenance of the disorder.



death, loss, death attitudes, acceptance, acceptance and commitment therapy, death-related experiences