Death Anxiety in Psychopathology: A Systematic Review

Creative Commons License

Gürbüz A., YORULMAZ O.

Psikiyatride Güncel Yaklaşımlar, vol.16, no.1, pp.159-174, 2024 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.18863/pgy.1267748
  • Journal Name: Psikiyatride Güncel Yaklaşımlar
  • Journal Indexes: Academic Search Premier, Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), Psycinfo, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.159-174
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Death anxiety has been proposed to be a transdiagnostic construct underlying the development and maintenance of numerous psychopathological conditions. The relationship between death anxiety and mental disorders has been largely studied in specific disorders. On the other hand, it has been suggested that interventions to transdiagnostic components such as death anxiety have the potential to increase therapy efficacy for many psychological disorders. Accordingly, the aim of the study was to identify studies examined relationships between death anxiety and various mental disorders and outline measurement methods for evaluating death anxiety. Of the 933 references identified at Web of Science, Google Scholar, PubMed and APA databases, 17 articles met inclusion criteria. In the studies, the relationship between death anxiety and psychopathology and the measurement tools used to evaluate death anxiety were examined. Studies included in this review have examined the role of death anxiety in various psychological disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder, health anxiety, social anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Overall, results suggested that there is a clear association between death anxiety and psychopathology, symptom severity, number of psychiatric medications and hospitalizations, depression and anxiety. Furthermore, Templer’s Death Anxiety Scale was most widely used scale for measuring death anxiety. The findings indicate that death anxiety may be an important risk factor in the development or maintaining of many psychological disorders and it is significant to include death anxiety in the treatment of mental disorders in which death anxiety may play a role.