Subjective nearness-to-Death, filial obligations, and depressive symptoms: the case of Jews and Arabs in Israel

Yoav S. Bergman, Dikla Segel-Karpas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Research has examined the link between subjective perceptions of life and death and psychological well-being. However, while cultural values were shown to provide a defense against death-related thoughts, little is known about specific cultural expectations with regard to this issue. Accordingly, the current study focused on two sub-cultures within the Israeli society, and examined whether filial obligations moderate the connection between subjective nearness-to-death and depressive symptoms. Moreover, the study also examined whether this moderating effect is culture-dependent, by examining differences between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Method: Data were collected from 337 participants, two-thirds of which were Jewish. Age ranged from 45 to 65 (M = 52.32, SD =4.49). All participants filled out scales examining subjective nearness-to-death, filial piety, and depressive symptoms. Results: Filial piety did not moderate the connection between subjective nearness-to-death and depressive symptoms for the entire cohort. However, a significant three-way interaction of cultural group × filial piety × subjective nearness-to-death was found, and further analyses demonstrated that filial piety served as a significant moderator among Jews, but not among Arabs. Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of examining subjective perceptions of mortality in a cultural context, as culture was shown to affect how such perceptions are connected with depressive symptoms. These effects are discussed from the framework of terror management theory within the context of the Israeli society, and future directions are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Israel
  • depressive symptoms
  • filial piety
  • subjective nearness-to-death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Psychiatric Mental Health

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