Volume 23, Number 1 (Spring 2017)                   IJPCP 2017, 23(1): 68-77 | Back to browse issues page

DOI: 10.18869/nirp.ijpcp.23.1.68

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Mohammadzadeh A, Ashouri A. The Study of Some Religious Correlates of Death Depression Among University Students. IJPCP. 2017; 23 (1) :68-77
URL: http://ijpcp.iums.ac.ir/article-1-2432-en.html

PhD in Clinical Psychology, Assistant Professor Department of Clinical Psychology, School of Behavioral Sciences & Mental Health (Tehran Institute of Psychiatry), Iran University of Medical Sciences , Email:ahmad.ashouri@gmail.com
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Extended Abstract
1. Introduction
redicting death of the self and fear of death process of the important people in life creates morbid reactions in some people. In studies regarding death, these reactions are classified in three dimensions, i.e.,death anxiety, death obsession, and death depression. Studies have showed that religion and religiosity are causes of reduction in some conditions, stimulates death phobic attitudes [19]. In connection with the innovative aspect of this study, a review of the literature suggests that few studies  have been done in the area of death depression and psychological-religious factors related to it, especially in Iran. Due to the lack of findings and also with regard to the religious variables in explaining the fact that death depression can have a decisive role,the goal of this research is to investigate some religious study correlates of death depression, including the practice of religious beliefs, religious harmony, and attachment to God.
2. Method
The study was a descriptive-analytical study. The study population consisted of all PNU students of East Azerbaijan Province enrolled in the academic year of 2014-15. Stratified random sampling was used to select the subjects. Given the nature of research and considering the adequacy of subject numbers in the research, the sample size was set at 347. After describing the research objectives, consent was obtained from the participants to participate in the study. Research questionnaires were given to them. An arrangement was made for simultaneous completion of questionnaires,where half of the participants first completed some scales and the other half completed the other scales. In this way, the effects of the completion order were controlled.
For data analysis, simultaneous multiple regression analysis was performed using SPSS (v. 21) software. Research tools included Death depression scale,Questionnaire to practice religious beliefs of the temple,Religious coping short form scale, and scale of attachment to God.
3. Results
Demographic information of sample is shown in Table 1. According to the table, the number of female participants (235) is comparable to the number of male participants (104) in this study. Eleven subjects did not specify their gender. Also, the mean scores of the variables of the study and correlations between death obsession and religious components are summarized in Table 2.
According to the table, there is no significant relationship between death depression and different dimensions of practicing religious beliefs. It was observed that death depression has a direct relationship with negative religious coping styles and anxious attachment to God and an inverse relationship with religious coping styles. The multiple linearity assumption for the assessment of independence was investigated for predictive variables. The software gave tolerance index as 0.87 to 1 and variance inflation factor index as 1 to 1.14. It can be accepted that predictive variables are independent of each other, and there was no multiple linearity. Data normalization was evaluated using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, and the results showed that there was no deviation from the normal value (Coefficient=0.035, P<0.2).
Regression analysis results are provided among the variables in Table 3. Based on these results, the F observed was significant (P<0.001), and 13% of the variance of the death depression was determined by anxious attachment to God and positive and negative religious coping styles (r2=0.13).Regression analysis of predictive variables showed that anxious attachment to God and positive and negative religious coping styles can significantly explain depression death variance. Impact coefficient of anxious attachment to God was 0.27 and that of positive and negative religious coping styles were 0.33 and – 0.39, respectively. The T-Statistics suggested that these variables can predict changes related to death depression with more than 95% confidence. This means that increasing anxiety attachment to God and negative religious coping style led to increased death depression. In addition, 
decreased positive coping style also led to increased death depression.
4. Discussion and Conclusion
 The results of the religious variables studied showed that anxious attachment to God (comprised of an avoidant and anxious attachment style) and negative religious coping (directly) and positive religious coping (inversely) have the most explanatory power of death depression. Till date, two studies have been reported which examined the correlates of religious death depression, with which the results of this study are in parallel. The two studies reported an inverse relationship between death depression and faith in God and life after death [8, 9].While explaining these results, we can say that those with insecure attachment style to God reflect anxiety, ambivalence or confusion regarding God’s will to respond in times of threat and that in their view,God is not responsive and accessible. 
Such people have doubts in the acceptance of God as the basis for safety and abutments at times of hardships. Those who have doubts and are anxious about accepting the God as a secure base may not feel the presence of God in every moment of their lives and are always in anxiety of the absence of God in difficult and important situations of their lives. Such people always suffer from a kind of anxiety, which is a sign of being far from God. Considering the fact that all humans sometimes think about death - not from its religious dimension - but perhaps because of the fear that death leaves in man and since it is possible that death is the end of the road for them,they do not have such a strong anchorage like God when in the midst of life. 
Hence, death and thoughts about it create a kind of anxiety in them which cast a shadow over their lives, or because they do not know themselves whether they are worthy of the kindness and love of God or can accept death and embrace it. In case of reviewing their past actions and if they have committed any sin and wrong acts, they do not think of themselves worthy of forgiveness by God. Therefore, death becomes a horrible and fearsome phenomenon for them and even thinking about it would make them extremely anxious.
This study showed that those who use positive coping strategies while facing any negative life events have less death depression than those who use negative coping strategies. According to this, there are those who try to make a stronger relational bond with God during the negative events of life or ask God to help them to overcome the anger and rage resulting from the failure. They rely on their religious beliefs in order for their problems to be reduced and be less despaired and sad in relation to the death, hence, resulting in low death depression. Having such image of the Creator is a kind of relief and relaxation and helps reduce discomforts for their losses. The man who knows his God with all the aesthetic characteristics does not surrender in front of the tribulations of life and leaves behind all the difficulties and hardships through his trust in God. 
Conversely, those who feel that God has forgotten them when faced with negative life events or even think that the event happened is a punishment from God, and have doubts about the power of God and think God as inhospitable, show higher levels of death depression. Negative religious coping style lacks a deep internal relationship,and it seems that he/she has anxiety attribute with self. In other words,in this kind of religious coping style, the fear of punishment and rejection by God is considered by the person. These people perceive God more as a source of pain and punishment rather than as a source of love and affection. Positive religious coping is based on a loving relationship with God and a sense of spiritual connection with others and believing in purposefulness of the world [27]. In this regard,the finding is consistent with the findings by Pargament on a relationship between positive religious coping and mental health [28], and its negative correlation with decreased depression [29] and reduced stress [30]. 
Payam-e Noor University of Tehran has financially supported this paper.
Conflict of Interest 
The authors declared no conflicts of interest.
Type of Study: Original Research | Subject: General
Received: 2016/09/22 | Accepted: 2017/02/21

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