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Psychosocial processes at the end of life: The relationship between generativity and fear of death

Joshua R Bringle, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Erikson (1963) theorized that favorable psychosocial development would lead to lower levels of negative death attitudes and greater acceptance of mortality. This study examined the relationship between resolution of Stage 7 (Generativity vs. Stagnation) and death attitudes in a sample of community-dwelling older adults (60-94). Structural regression models were used to test the relationship between Generativity and Ego Integrity and their relationship to death attitudes. The effect of Generativity on the expression of death attitudes was mediated by Ego Integrity. These relationships were present using both participant reports of Generativity as well as the reports of participant-recommended informants. These findings provide support for the cumulative nature of Erikson's epigenetic theory in later adulthood. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of practical applications for older adults.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Bringle, Joshua R, "Psychosocial processes at the end of life: The relationship between generativity and fear of death" (2007). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3254912.