The Utility of a Positive Body Image Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults Who Perceive Death to Be Near and Fear It

Ehud Bodner, Yoav S. Bergman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Physical changes are an inevitable part of the aging process. However, research has demonstrated inconclusive findings with regard to body image among older adults. This study attempts to clarify the utility of body image among this age-group, by adopting the framework of terror management theory. It is suggested that a positive body image may moderate the connection between two types of death concerns and psychological distress: subjective nearness-to-death and death anxiety. A convenience sample of 386 community-dwelling older adults, aged 60–97, filled scales measuring subjective nearness-to-death, positive body image, psychological distress, and death anxiety. A significant negative association was found between a positive body image and distress. Moreover, positive body image moderated the connection between distress and both subjective nearness-to-death and death anxiety. Thus, holding a positive image of the body seems to be an important resource for older adults when death is perceived to be near.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-771
Number of pages21
JournalResearch on Aging
Volume41
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

Keywords

  • body image
  • death anxiety
  • psychological distress
  • subjective nearness-to-death
  • terror management theory

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