Death anxiety and religious belief: a critical review

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    This chapter further explores the connection between explicit death anxiety and religious belief. Dealing with a large body of empirical research, it considers various interpretations of terror management theory (TMT) and their predictions about whether people are aware of and consciously afraid of death; whether death anxiety systematically covaries with religiosity; and how the two are causally related. As we gain more—and more complex—answers to these empirical questions, TMT may have to evolve to reconsider how death thought accessibility and death anxiety are related, whether literal immortality pursuits outweigh symbolic immortality pursuits, and how culturally specific factors impact the ostensibly universal fear of death.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Science of Religion, Spirituality, and Existentialism
    EditorsKenneth E. Vail III, Clay Routledge
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9780128172049
    ISBN (Print)9780128172056
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2020

    Bibliographical note

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    • death anxiety
    • Fear of death
    • mortality salience
    • proximity to death
    • religious belief
    • terror management theory

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)


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