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Sibling Death and Death Fear in Relation to Depressive Symptomatology in Older Adults

By Victor G. Cicirelli


Previously overlooked factors in elders' depressive symptomatology were examined, including death fear, sibling death, and sibling closeness. Participants were 150 elders (61 men, 89 women) aged 65–97 years with at least one sibling. Measures were proportion of deceased siblings, sibling closeness, the Death Fear Subscale of the Death Attitude Profile–Revised, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression scale (20-item adult form). Age and education were exogenous variables in a structural equation model. Death fear, sibling closeness, and proportion of dead siblings were directly related to depression, with path coefficients of .42, −.24, and .13, respectively. Proportion of dead siblings had indirect effects on depression, as did age and education. Depressive symptomatology in old age is influenced by death fear related to sibling death as well as by poor relationships with them; it must be understood within a situational context including death fear and sibling relationships

Topics: Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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