An Examination of the Relationship Between Death Anxiety, Optimism, Depression, and Anxiety



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Although the topics of death anxiety and optimism have been studied extensively in the literature, there is a limited amount of research addressing both of these concepts together. Furthermore, there has not yet been an attempt to formulate a model to explain the relationship between these two variables. Death anxiety and optimism have also been shown to relate differentially to other measures of well-being, such as indices of psychopathology (e.g., Ayub, 2009; Fotiadou, Barlow, Powell, & Langton, 2008; Gilliland & Templer, 1985-1986; Kurdek & Siesky, 1990; Moreno, De La Fuente Solana, Rico, & Fernandez, 2008-2009; Neimeyer & Fortner, 1995; Peleg, Barak, Harel, Rochberg, & Hoofien, 2009; Pollak, 1979). When conceptualized through Kelly‘s Personal Construct Theory (1955), depression and anxiety are emotions signaling transition within constructs, the presence of which may affect the relationship between optimism and death anxiety. This study examined whether depression and anxiety were mediators in the relationship between death anxiety and optimism through the use of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This study demonstrates that depression/anxiety mediate the relationship between optimism and death anxiety, and that the fully mediated model is the preferred model.