Associations between fatalistic withdrawal from life and physical health
LE3 .A278 2022
Bachelor of Science
According to Terror Management Theory (TMT), our awareness of our own eventual death and our helplessness to prevent it produces a large amount of existential anxiety in all of us. Because anxiety is unpleasant, we strive to find ways to ease this anxiety by either engaging with goals that provide life with meaning, or by withdrawing from all life-sustaining actions entirely. The current study aims to build on research by Hayes et al. (2016) to determine if fatalistic withdrawal and comorbid depression might precipitate changes in physical health that hasten death. This question is examined using a longitudinal, cross-lagged approach that follows 61 individuals over the course of four months. Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression and yielded a significant effect of past physical health on current desire for life, where an increase in physical illness predicted a decrease in desire to live. However, no significant relationship could be established between past desire for life and future physical health or health behaviours. Implications for the treatment of physical illness are discussed and areas for future research are identified.
The author retains copyright in this thesis. Any substantial copying or any other actions that exceed fair dealing or other exceptions in the Copyright Act require the permission of the author.