Gratitude lessens death anxiety

Wing Lam Rosanna LAU, Sheung-Tak CHENG

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47 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated whether a brief gratitude induction could reduce death anxiety. 83 Chinese older adults (mean age = 62.7, SD = 7.13) were randomly assigned into one of three conditions: gratitude, hassle, and neutral, in which they wrote different types of life events before responding to measures of death anxiety and affect. Participants in the gratitude induction reported lower death anxiety than the hassle and the neutral condition, whereas no difference was observed for the latter two conditions. There was no experimental effect on positive affect, and a significant effect on negative affect but which did not favor the gratitude condition. By reexamining life events with a thankful attitude, people may become less fearful of death due to a sense that life has been well-lived. Because gratitude can be induced using a very brief procedure, there are broad applications in clinical and health-care settings for the relief of death anxiety. Copyright © 2011 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-175
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


Lau, R. W. L., & Cheng, S.-T. (2011). Gratitude lessens death anxiety. European Journal of Ageing, 8(3), 169-175.


  • Gratitude
  • Death anxiety
  • Positive affect
  • Negative affect
  • Chinese older adults


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