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Awareness of Death in the Disengagement Theory: A Conceptualization and an Empirical Investigation

Awareness of Death in the Disengagement Theory: A Conceptualization and an Empirical Investigation Awareness of death in the disengagement theory of aging is the variable purported to trigger the disengagement process. In this paper the literature is reviewed for a conceptualization of this variable. Two components of awareness of death emerge: the knowledge of impending death and the meaning that this knowledge has for the individual's future. The empirical literature is then reviewed for a clarification of these components and to examine the indicators other authors have employed. The results of an empirical investigation among forty hospitalized elderly persons are then presented. The findings revealed that this sample was characterized as a whole by their knowledge of their death and a readiness to die. Approximately half viewed themselves as having no future to live but only a time for waiting until death while the other half saw themselves with a future for continued living. No relationship was found between these different attitudes towards the future and various measures of psychological disengagement. However, they were related to specific social activity and interaction dimensions of social disengagement which were interpreted in terms of their implicit continuity through time and lack of continuity through time of experiences and their involvement inside The Hospital world versus involvement outside of The Hospital world. The implications for future research are then briefly discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying SAGE

Awareness of Death in the Disengagement Theory: A Conceptualization and an Empirical Investigation

OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying , Volume 6 (4): 19 – Jan 1, 1976

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 1976 SAGE Publications
ISSN
0030-2228
eISSN
1541-3764
DOI
10.2190/5WKA-QB1M-VTGA-RRGF
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Awareness of death in the disengagement theory of aging is the variable purported to trigger the disengagement process. In this paper the literature is reviewed for a conceptualization of this variable. Two components of awareness of death emerge: the knowledge of impending death and the meaning that this knowledge has for the individual's future. The empirical literature is then reviewed for a clarification of these components and to examine the indicators other authors have employed. The results of an empirical investigation among forty hospitalized elderly persons are then presented. The findings revealed that this sample was characterized as a whole by their knowledge of their death and a readiness to die. Approximately half viewed themselves as having no future to live but only a time for waiting until death while the other half saw themselves with a future for continued living. No relationship was found between these different attitudes towards the future and various measures of psychological disengagement. However, they were related to specific social activity and interaction dimensions of social disengagement which were interpreted in terms of their implicit continuity through time and lack of continuity through time of experiences and their involvement inside The Hospital world versus involvement outside of The Hospital world. The implications for future research are then briefly discussed.

Journal

OMEGA - Journal of Death and DyingSAGE

Published: Jan 1, 1976

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