A Socio-Evolutionary Approach Towards Understanding the Relationship Between Interpersonal Concerns and the Fear of Death

Zuccala, M. (University of Sydney)

An abundance of evidence highlights the important role that the fear of death plays in psychopathology (see Iverach, Menzies, & Menzies, 2014). From the perspective of terror management theory (TMT), psychological dysfunction results from an inability to effectively buffer one’s underlying death anxiety. Such a perspective has been used to explain the relationship between death fears and anxiety disorders focusing on negative physical outcomes, such as compulsive washing in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and health concerns in hypochondriasis. However, it is perhaps more difficult explaining the theoretical relationship between anxiety disorders focusing on interpersonal concerns (e.g. social anxiety) and the fear of death. In this presentation, a socio-evolutionary approach towards understanding death anxiety’s role in anxiety disorders will be discussed. Preliminary data from a study investigating the relationship between social anxiety and death concerns will be presented, and implications for our current understandings of the evolutionary processes underlying psychopathology will be addressed.

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—- TYREE —–
Close Relationships and Individual Differences