The Relationships Between Personality Traits, Death Attitudes, and Ageism

Title: The Relationships Between Personality Traits, Death Attitudes, and Ageism
Authors: Galton, Nicolas
Date: 2019-05-13
Abstract: Ageism, or the prejudicial attitude towards other age groups, especially older adults, is seen as one of the most prevalent preconceived judgment in Canadian society. Present in many domains of society including the workplace and healthcare system, the detrimental effects of ageism are well-established. With effects ranging from financial problems to mental and physical deterioration, the underlying structure of ageism requires more exploration if we are to attempt a reduction of its presence. Terror Management Theory suggests that aversive attitudes towards different groups, in this case, older adults, are rooted in defensive attitudes towards the fear of death. Every human being unique, individual differences also have a role to play in the way people perceive older adults. The present study attempts to better understand the role of attitudes towards death and personality on ageism. Since the role of avoidant and acceptant attitudes towards death is, to the author’s knowledge, understudied in the ageism literature, this study builds on existing knowledge by examining the unknown role of avoidance and acceptance of death on ageism. Four hundred and thirty-six undergraduate students enrolled in first-year psychology classes volunteered to participate in an online questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed demographic information, personality traits, attitudes towards death and attitudes towards older adults. Results suggest the association between prosocial personality traits (Extraversion, Agreeableness, Consciensciousness and Openness) and decreased ageism. The existential fear of death and of the fear of a loved one going through the process of dying were associated with more aversion towards older adults, while the fear of a loved one’s death indicated lower levels of discrimination. Belief in death as leading to an after-life indicated a decreased tendency to avoid older adults. Correlates of personality and attitudes towards death were also explored. Implications and future areas of research are discussed.
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses
Galton_Nicolas_2019_thesis.pdfThis thesis explores the complex relationships between personality traits, attitudes towards death, and ageism.1.28 MBAdobe PDFOpen