Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.




The purposes of the present study were: (1) to determine relationships between psychometric death concern variables, (2) to determine if the use of a personal death fantasy exercise would significantly reduce death anxiety, (3) to ascertain the experimental effect of fantasy process variables, and, (4) to describe relationships with avoidance-confrontation continuum. Templer's (1970) Death Anxiety Scale, Ray and Najman's (1974) Death Acceptance, Thauberger's (1974) Avoidance of the Ontological Confrontation of death, and Morgan's (1975) Vivia, Death Transcendence and Meditative Awareness subtests were administered pre-, immediately following, and two weeks after subjects engaged in two visually imagined fantasy experiences. Experimental Treatment Low Death Anxious (n = 20) and High Death Anxious (n = 20) Groups engaged in an innocuous fantasy involving an imagined walk in a meadow, followed by the personal death fantasy which involved imagining a simulated cardiac arrest during which the subject dies. The control group comprised of low death anxious (n = 10) and high death anxious (n = 10) subjects engaged in the same initial innocuous fantasy as the experimental treatment groups, however, the control groups' second fantasy involved a second innocuous fantasy. The process variables were time fantasizing, number of interventions, death associated words, and four vocal quality categories. The expected relationships between the psychometric variables were supported for all death concern relationships except the death anxiety and vivia relationship which was non-significant. The expected reduction in death anxiety following confrontation experience was not found. There was a significant multivariate effect accounted for by the meditative awareness variable over all groups. The process variables of time spent, focused and externalizing thought units were significantly related to the death concern variables. Avoidance-confrontation was significantly related to each of the other death concern variables. Observed changes on the avoidance-confrontation measure indicated that low death anxious individuals could be either confronters or avoiders, however, high scorers on the death anxiety scale were avoiders. Experimental differences for the high and low ranges of the death anxiety as well as the relationship between death anxiety and the avoidance-confrontation measure were also observed; however, the high-low death anxiety differential effects were obscured by statistical design inadequacies of the study. Limitations of the present design and recommendations for future research are discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1982 .M446. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 43-03, Section: B, page: 0878. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1982.