General beliefs about the world as defensive mechanisms against death anxiety

Ka Ying, Victoria HUI, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Michael Harris BOND, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Sze Wing, Timmy NG, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Copyright © 2007, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.

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Death ideation and death anxiety represent the cognitive and affective dimensions of death attitudes, respectively. General beliefs about the world are proposed to be useful defensive mechanisms protecting persons against the death anxiety provoked by death ideation. SEM is employed to test the proposed mediation model, using a sample of 133 Hong Kong Chinese university students. Results showed that death ideation was significantly and inversely linked to belief in social cynicism, reward for application, and fate control. Moreover, higher levels of belief in fate control and lower levels of religiosity predicted greater death anxiety. Only belief in fate control partially mediated the relationship between death ideation and death anxiety. Discussion focused on how social axioms serve as useful defensive mechanisms against death anxiety.