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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Death concern and the resolution of the mid-life crisis Landers, Dale


'Mid-life crisis' has become an increasingly popular term to describe the turmoil and changes in behaviour that many men experience during midlife (Collin, 1979). The full nature of this experience, however, remains unclear. An awareness of one’s mortality or concern over death appears to be one of the main characteristics and possibly the underlying and precipitating factor of the mid-life crisis --whether this awareness is conscious or not (Jaques, 1965). If this awareness of mortality is as significant as the literature suggests, then it would be a key area to address when counselling such men. One way of determining this would be to see if the concern about death actually lessens or resolves once the mid-life crisis is over. The focus of this study was to determine whether men who report having gone through a mid-life crisis have less of a concern about death than those men who report that they are currently in the midst of a mid-life crisis. A sample of 95 men between the ages of 35 and 50(M age 42.5) filled out Dickstein's (1972) Death Concern Scale. They also reported whether or not they a) had never, b) were currently, or c) had already experienced a mid-life crisis. Results of this study showed that those men who had already gone through a crisis had significantly lower scores on the Death Concern Scale than those men currently in the middle of a crisis (t = 4.19, p < .001). Those men who had never experienced a mid-life crisis also had significantly lower Death Concern scores than those men currently in crisis (t = 5.35, p < .001).

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