Death Attitudes as Possible Predictors of Death Preparedness across Lifespan among Nonclinical Populations in Nairobi County, Kenya

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Death is an important part of lifespan development, yet it remains trivialized or feared across many cultures. The perpetuation of death as a taboo subject continues to negatively affect the society. Death anxiety inhibits death preparedness which could affect the quality of dying. The pool of unclaimed assets held by different organizations continues to increase, intestate deaths remain high, and post death conflicts continue to affect many families. Aims: This study intended to examine death attitudes as possible predictors of death preparedness and explore the rationale for various death attitudes across lifespan in Nairobi, Kenya. Methods: The study adopted the mixed‑methods explanatory sequential research design combining cross‑sectional and phenomenological designs. The study targeted young adults, middle‑aged adults, and seniors with a sample of 335 participants selected using multistage, stratified, and extreme case sampling designs. Data were collected using the Death Attitude Profile‑Revised and interview guides. Analysis: Data were analyzed using univariate and thematic analyses. Results: The findings indicated that negative death attitudes declined with increase in age, whereas positive death attitudes increased with increase in age. Some of the reasons for negative death attitudes included threatening dying process, unfulfilled life goals, fear of hell, unresolved past deaths, and families with young children among others. The reasons for positive death attitude included reuniting with deceased loved ones and peers, meeting the creator, and end to a prolonged miserable life and fulfilled past life. Conclusion: This study implies that mental health practitioners need to target younger adults with death education programs to promote death preparedness and quality dying. For the older adults, addressing life regrets, family conflicts, and past unresolved deaths would significantly improve the quality of dying.




Death acceptance, death attitudes, death preparedness, nonclinical population


Asatsa S. Death attitudes as possible predictors of death preparedness across lifespan among nonclinical populations in Nairobi county, Kenya. Indian J Palliat Care 2020;26:287-94.