Changes in death fear during COVID-19 in Hubei, China: The effects of life-history and current external environment

Shaolingyun Guo, Huijing Lu (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the spread of deadly virus globally compels individuals to reevaluate death and dying, and this forced awareness of death influences adaptation to a changing environment. Several studies have employed artificial laboratory settings of mortality salience or subliminal death primes to increase mortality awareness and mortality threat perception. However, few studies have used natural settings to activate a larger ecological network of perceived mortality threats. To understand such natural environment conditions under which individuals feel most fearful for their safety and lives, the goal of this study is to examine whether changes in overall fear of death varied according to individual distinctions in life history (LH) strategy and current environmental status under the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents of Hubei, China (N = 202) reported their fear of death subject scores once during and once after the mandatory lockdown period. The results revealed that LH was associated with fear of death, and the current environment moderated this association, suggesting that slow LH strategy was predictive of more intense death fear at lower levels of mortality threat in a given environment than at higher levels of this threat

Original languageEnglish
JournalEvolutionary Behavioral Sciences
Early online dateApr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Covid-19 pandemic
  • Death fear
  • Life history
  • Mortality threat
  • Unpredictable environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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