Factors Associated with Death Anxiety Among Rural Chinese Older Adults: The Terror Management Perspective

Yaolin Pei, Zhen Cong, Merril Silverstein, Shuzhuo Li, Bei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine how the factors suggested by the Terror Management Theory are associated with death anxiety among rural Chinese older adults. Method: Data were derived from a longitudinal survey of older adults aged 60 and above, had at least one living child, and were living in rural areas of Anhui Province. The working sample included 1,362 older adults. Two-level random effects models were used. Results: Children’s financial support was negatively related to death anxiety, whereas emotional closeness with children was positively related to death anxiety. Older women reported more death anxiety than older men. Functional limitations were positively associated with death anxiety, and the widowed reported less death anxiety than the married. We did not find a significant association between religious belief and death anxiety. Discussion: The study highlights the importance of culture in shaping death anxiety among older adults in rural China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • death anxiety
  • functional limitations
  • gender
  • intergenerational support
  • religious belief
  • widowhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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