A study on the Social Activeness and Death Anxiety among elderly

Topics: Sociology, Gerontology, Old age Pages: 9 (1581 words) Published: January 28, 2014
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A study on the Social activeness and Death anxiety among the elderly

*S. Thenndral
*Hannah Paul

Abstract: The world health organisation recognises anyone above the age of 60 as elderly, the phase after which is termed as ‘late adulthood’. This period is marked by characteristic physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes, social activeness being one such area in which the change is clearly visible.(Papalia, D.E., 2008) The indulgence of oneself in social activities like attending social gatherings, parties, family functions, recreation clubs, etc. tends to change with change in age. With gradual increase in time, death begins to be a major concern for individuals in this phase, often resulting in death anxiety, which is a term used to conceptualise the apprehension generated by death awareness (Abdel-Khalek, 2005). Theoretical evidences suggest that social engagement can lead to successful/optimal/healthy aging, and hence a link can be established between social activeness and death anxiety. There is a need for this study because there have been very less research studies on this topic, especially in the Indian context, so this topic craves a need for it to be studied. It is a cross sectional descriptive research design wherein purposive sampling methodology was followed. The research hypothesis of the study was: 1. There will be a significant negative correlation between (high) social activeness and death anxiety; 2. There will be a significant gender difference on social activeness and death anxiety. The sample (elderly people aged between 60 and 70 years) (n=200) was administered to the following scales- social activeness scale (Berkman-Syme Social Network index, 1979) and death anxiety scale (Templer’s (1970) 15item Death Anxiety Scale (DAS)). A qualitative interview was also conducted for more information and the results are presented below..

Keywords: Social Activeness, Death Anxiety.
*Undergraduate Students, The Madras School Of Social Work, Egmore, Chennai.

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Introduction
The indulgence of oneself in social activities like attending social gatherings, parties, family functions, recreation clubs, etc. is called social activeness and it tends to change with change in age. With gradual increase in time, death begins to be a major concern for individuals in this phase, often resulting in death anxiety, which is a term used to conceptualise the apprehension generated by death awareness (Abdel-Khalek, 2005). Janet Belsky (1999) defines death anxiety as the “the thoughts, fears and emotions about the final event of living that we experience under more normal conditions of life.”„Death anxiety is defined as a feeling of dread, apprehension or solicitude when one thinks of the process of dying, or ceasing to be or what happens after death. Death is defined as the state of non-being, the termination of biological life‟ (Bond, 1994) Death anxiety is the morbid, abnormal or persistent fear of one's own death or the process of his/her dying. Lower ego integrity, more physical problems, and more psychological problems are predictive of higher levels of death anxiety in elderly people. (Farley,2010). The Berkman-Syme Social Network Index (SNI), was used to assess the type, size, closeness, and frequency of contacts in a respondent‟s current social network. This measure allows researchers to categorize individuals based on social connectedness and can highlight those at risk for social isolation. The importance of social ties is becoming increasingly recognized as strong associations have consistently been found between social support networks with physical and mental health outcomes (Berkman, et al., 2003; Loucks, et al., 2006). According to the Activity theory proposed by Neugarten ,(1968) in order to age successfully, a person must remain as active as possible. Engaging in activities that challenge cognitive skills in turn promotes the retention or growth of those skills.(Schaie, 1983)

The book „death...

References: Abdel-khalek, A.M (2005). Death Anxiety in clinical and non-clinaical groups. Death Studies
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Berkman, et al.,(2003);Loucks, et al., (2006).Berkmansyme Social Network Index
Belsky,
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