Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Using a multidimensional approach, this study investigated the relationships between personality variables and death concern. The study utilized Durlak and Kass's (1981) conceptualization of death concern in terms of five factors. These factors are (a) Negative Evaluation of Personal Death, (b) Reluctance to Interact with the Dying, (c) Negative Evaluation of Pain, (d) Reactions to Reminders of Death and (e) preoccupation with Thoughts of Dying, personality and death concern was studied by examining hypothesized relationships between these factors and personality variables. Examining the hypotheses entailed using a sample of 116 participants. The sample consisted of college students as well as heterogeneous subgroups of non-college adults (75 females, 41 males). These participants responded to a demographic data sheet, the l6PF (16 personality Factor Questionnaire) and a battery of four death concern measures. The latter measures were selected so as to provide indices of each of the five death concern factors. Of ten hypotheses about personality-death concern relationships, one was strongly supported, three received partial support, and six received no support. Results pertaining to four additional hypotheses about relationships between combinations of personality variables and death concern indicated that the personality variables predicted death concern better in combination than singly. Hypothesized findings concerning the first ten hypotheses were that (a) venturesomeness (as opposed to shyness) was related to decreased reluctance to interact with the dying; (b) lower emotional stability was associated with greater reaction to reminders of death and more preoccupation with thoughts of dying; and (c) more apprehensiveness and tension was related to greater reaction to reminders of death, to greater negative evaluation of death, and to more preoccupation with thoughts of dying. Overall the results provided only limited support for the hypotheses of the study. However, a substantial number of non-hypothesized findings suggested that the five Durlak and Kass death concern factors have potential for discerning personality-death concern relationships. This potential appears deserving of further research, initially in the form of attempts to replicate the findings of the present research.


Richard P. Schellenberg

Date of Award

Fall 1986

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1986 Diane B. Magers


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