Developmental Perceptions of Death Anxiety


People of varying ages and cultures have different attitudes toward death. This essay presents summary findings of interview analysis from participants selected randomly from each decade. The interview is intended to assess people’s thoughts about their death and how they have handled the death of a close relative as per their respective cultures. The responses are analyzed to determine the differences in attitude towards death and how they vary in age and culture.

Age-Related Perceptions of Death Anxiety Summary


Adolescents younger than 20 years old comprehend death, as not as an immediate threat as adults do. In most cultures, despite their obsession with mortality, the personal story of youth makes them feel impervious to death (Longbottom & Slaughter, 2018). As a result, individuals frequently engage in dangerous activities such as drug abuse and reckless driving under the belief that they are invincible.

Young adults

Young adults in their 20s have a lower mortality rate, which contributes to reduced rates of death anxiety. Individuals in their young adult stage often anticipate living a long life and, as a result, do not think about or get concerned about mortality (Saleem & Saleem, 2020). The loss of oneself and the uncertainty after dying are the few sources of anxiety in the demographic. People in their 20s seem to be more concerned about their future than their death.

Early Adulthoods

The population in their 30s tends to fear missed opportunities for atonement and deliverance. The well-being of surviving family members is only a few of the causes of death fear. The early adulthood demographic also has a lower overall mortality rate, which contributes to reduced rates of anxiety. People in their early adulthood often anticipate living a long life and, as a result, they hardly ponder death. The stability of their future is one of the most immediate concerns.

Middle Adulthoods

Middle-aged individuals in their 40s can be severely affected by the unexpected death of a loved one. In all common cultures, they may be saddened by the death of their kid and possible grandchildren. They may feel terrible about not being able to defend their child. The death of a partner is also scary and is mainly associated with duties and tasks, financial difficulties, and coping with bereaved children (MacLeod et al., 2019). Middle-aged individuals may be saddened by future intentions to retire together.

Late Adulthoods

People in their fifties are more afraid of death than those in their twenties or thirties. Their worries are exacerbated by the fact that they are responsible for others. Adults in their 50s frequently offer support to their children and parents, and they are concerned about leaving them to care for themselves. The sense of responsibility is often coupled with community leadership and the desire to leave a legacy.

Early Old Age

During the early years of the onset of old age, individuals tend to be focused on mentorship. People in their 60 also have responsibilities, but they are mainly concerned about relinquishing such obligations to a younger generation (Lapierre et al., 2018). Therefore, the fear of death is dependent on their success in raising responsible young adults. As such, the levels of anxiety are relative to the chances of finding a successor.

Sunset Years

Individuals above 70 years old have relatively less death anxiety. Contrary to widespread assumption, folks in their late twenties have lesser concerns about mortality than other adults. Older persons have fewer caregiving obligations and are less concerned about abandoning family members. They are less anxious since they have previously experienced the loss of loved ones and have become reconciled to the possibility of death.


From early childhood until late adulthood, people’s understanding of death evolves. It is noted that age, cultural views, familial duties, and personal experiences influence how people see death. Based on the interviews, it is apparent that younger people tend to have minimal death anxieties than the middle-aged population. In all cultures, the elderly tend to have lower death anxieties.


Lapierre, S., Castelli, D. A., St-Amant, K., Dubuc, G., Houle, M., Lacerte, M. M., & Maggiori, C. (2018). Religiosity and the wish of older adults for physician-assisted suicide. Religions, 9(3), 66.

Longbottom, S., & Slaughter, V. (2018). Sources of children’s knowledge about death and dying. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 373(1754), 20170267.

MacLeod, R., Wilson, D. M., Crandall, J., & Austin, P. (2019). Death anxiety among new Zealanders: The predictive roles of religion, spirituality, and family connection. OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying, 80(1), 3-19.

Saleem, T., & Saleem, S. (2020). Religiosity and death anxiety: A study of Muslim attendees. Journal of Religion and Health, 59(1), 309-317.

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PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Developmental Perceptions of Death Anxiety." January 4, 2023.

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PsychologyWriting. "Developmental Perceptions of Death Anxiety." January 4, 2023.