Religiosity and fear of death: a three‐nation comparison
Lee Ellis et al.; 2013
Numerous studies have sought to determine if religiosity is correlated with fear of death. Findings have been anything but consistent, with reports of negative relationships, positive relationships, no relationship, and even curvilinear associations. To shed light on this still contentious issue, the present study was undertaken among college students in three countries – Malaysia, Turkey, and the United States. Overall, the patterns in all three countries were similar. When linearity was assumed, there is a substantial positive correlation between most religiosity measures and fear of death. Assuming curvilinearity added slightly to the strength of the relationships in the US data and nothing to data from Malaysia or Turkey. Other findings were that on average females were more religious and feared death more than did males, and Muslims expressed considerably greater fear than did members of any other major religion. Results were discussed in the context of a new theory – called death apprehension theory. Among other things, it specifically predicts that death apprehension will be positively related to most religious beliefs and practices.