Journal of Abnormal Psychology2015-01-12 2:50 PM

Don't fear the reaper: trait death anxiety, mortality salience, and occupational health.


Sliter MT1, Sinclair RR2, Yuan Z1, Mohr CD3.


Abstract

Despite multiple calls for research, there has been little effort to incorporate topics regarding mortality salience and death anxiety into workplace literature. As such, the goals of the current study were to (a) examine how trait differences in death anxiety relate to employee occupational health outcomes and (b) examine how death anxiety might exacerbate the negative effects of mortality salience cues experienced at work. In Study 1, we examined how death anxiety affected nurses in a multitime point survey. These results showed that trait death anxiety was associated with increased burnout and reduced engagement and that death anxiety further exacerbated the relationship between mortality salience cues (e.g., dealing with injured and dying patients) and burnout. These results were replicated and extended in Study 2, which examined the impact of death anxiety in firefighters. In this multitime point study, death anxiety related to burnout, engagement, and absenteeism. The results further showed that death anxiety moderated the relationship between mortality cues and burnout, where people high in trait death anxiety experience higher levels of burnout as a result of mortality cues than people lower in death anxiety. Across the 2 studies, despite differences in the methods (e.g., time lag; measures), the effect sizes and the form of the significant interactions were quite similar. Overall, these results highlight the importance of understanding death anxiety in the workplace, particularly in occupations where mortality salience cues are common. We discuss recommendations, such as death education and vocational counseling, and provide some avenues for future research.


J Appl Psychol. 2014 Jul;99(4):759-69. doi: 10.1037/a0035729. Epub 2014 Feb 3.


Full Article

KEYWORDS

SHARE & LIKE

COMMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Journal of Abnormal Psychology

The Journal of Abnormal Psychology publishes articles on basic research and theory in the broad field of abnormal behavior, its determinants, and its correlates.

0 Following 2 Fans 0 Projects 15 Articles

SIMILAR ARTICLES

Abstract:Research on life stress in bipolar disorder largely fails to account for the possibility of a dynamic relationship between psychosocial stress

Read More

AbstractSocial anxiety disorder is known to be associated with self-report of global friendship quality. However, information about specific friendship

Read More

A growing body of longitudinal studies suggests that low self-esteem is a risk factor for depression. However, it is unclear whether other characterist

Read More

Pervasive doubts are a central feature of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). We have theorized that obsessive doubts can arise in relation to any int

Read More

Chronic alcohol abuse is a major public health concern following trauma exposure; however, little is known about the temporal association between postt

Read More

Lee, Jooa Julia; Gino, Francesca; Staats, Bradley R.Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 99(3), May 2014, 504-513.AbstractPeople believe that weather con

Read More

Yam, Kai Chi; Fehr, Ryan; Barnes, Christopher M.Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 99(6), Nov 2014, 1288-1299.In this research, we draw from the stereo

Read More

Judge, Timothy A.; Cable, Daniel M.Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 96(1), Jan 2011, 95-112. AbstractCultivation theory suggests that society holds v

Read More

Shoss, Mindy K.; Eisenberger, Robert; Restubog, Simon Lloyd D.; Zagenczyk, Thomas J.Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 98(1), Jan 2013, 158-168. Abstra

Read More

Long-Zeng Wu1, Ho Kwong Kwan1,*, Li-Qun Wei2 andJun Liu3AbstractOver two decades, social influence researchers have called for a study that would exami

Read More