Mortality Awareness in Mid-life: The role of openness to experience and trait mindfulness
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The current study measured the predictive value of trait mindfulness and openness to experience on different facets of mortality awareness in a middle-aged sample. Most research on mortality awareness have focused on negative aspects such as avoidance and anxiety. However, trait mindfulness and openness to experience have been found to buffer against negative aspects of mortality awareness. Participants were middle aged men and women between the ages of 40 and 65. Using a quantitative method, participants completed three self-report questionnaires which measured their trait mindfulness, openness to experience and five facets of mortality awareness; acceptance, disengagement, legacy, fearfulness and disempowerment. It was hypothesised that trait mindfulness would predict an acceptance towards mortality and would negatively predict fearfulness, disengagement and disempowerment. Openness to experience was hypothesised to predict a need for legacy formation. The results indicated that high trait mindfulness did not predict mortality acceptance but did predict a willingness to engage with thoughts about mortality. Openness to experience was predictive of legacy formation and high fearfulness of mortality as well as avoidance and disempowerment. The results indicated that those who are open to experience may use legacy formation as a mechanism to avoid negative feelings about mortality. Future research should explore what forms of legacy creation reduce negative feelings and encourage meaning in life in the face of mortality.
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