Subjective nearness to death and end-of-life anxieties: the moderating role of ageism

Yoav S. Bergman, Ehud Bodner, Amit Shrira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: Subjective nearness to death (SNtD), or individuals' subjective evaluation of how close they are to death, has been demonstrated to be an important predictor for different aspects of the individual's aging process across the life cycle. However, the relationship between SNtD and anxieties linked with the aging process has not been examined among individuals who may be in the initial stages of experiencing the first physical and cognitive signs of aging. Thus, this study examined the association between SNtD and aging, dying, and death anxieties. Moreover, the role of ageism, or negative attitudes toward older adults, as a moderator for these perceptions regarding the end of life has not been addressed. Moreover, we examined whether ageism serves as a moderator for the aforementioned association. Method: A convenience sample of 1146 Israeli participants, ranging in age from 45 to 65, filled out scales assessing SNtD, aging anxiety, dying anxiety, death anxiety, and ageism. Results: High levels of SNtD were positively associated with aging, dying, and death anxieties. Moreover, there was a positive association between ageism and the three end-of-life anxieties. Significant interactions demonstrated the moderating effect of ageism for the relationship between SNtD and both aging and dying anxieties, but not for death anxiety. Conclusion: SNtD is an important construct, which is connected to various perceptions and anxieties concerning the aging and dying processes. Moreover, while high ageism mitigates the positive association between SNtD and certain anxieties, the role of ageism is more complicated, and its negative aspects are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-685
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
Early online date6 Feb 2017
StatePublished - 4 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Aging anxiety
  • ageism
  • death anxiety
  • dying anxiety
  • subjective nearness to death


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