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Title: Does superstition help? A study on the relationships among superstitions, death beliefs, personality,and death anxiety of university students in Hong Kong
Authors: Wong, Shui Hung (黃瑞紅)
Department: Department of Applied Social Studies
Issue Date: 2009
Course: SS5790 Psychology Research Paper
Programme: PGD in Psychology
Instructor: Dr. John W. L. Tse
Subjects: Uncertainty
Death anxiety
Superstition -- China -- Hong Kong
College students -- China -- Hong Kong -- Attitudes
Abstract: Objectives: Past research has shown that traditional Chinese death beliefs are related to death anxiety. Many of them are considered as superstitious thoughts. However, other studies have shown that superstitions may help people cope with uncertainty and reduce uncertainty-induced anxiety. The role of superstitions, whether related to higher death anxiety, or help reduce death anxiety is unclear. This study attempted to address the knowledge gap by examining the relationships among superstitions, Chinese death beliefs, intolerance of uncertainty, coping strategy, and death anxiety in the Chinese context. Methods: In this study, 124 undergraduate students in Hong Kong completed the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS), Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WCQ), Multi-dimensional Fear of Death Scale (MFODS), Revised-Paranormal Belief Scale (R-PBS), Chinese Superstition Scale, and the Traditional Chinese Death Beliefs Scale. Results: Superstitions, intolerance of uncertainty and escape-avoidance coping were found to be predictors of death anxiety. Discussion: The study took the first step to bridge the knowledge gap in understanding the role of superstitions, tolerance to uncertainty, and avoidance coping with relation to death anxiety. With superstitions highly prevalent in Chinese societies, the study has practical implications in end-of-life care, bereavement support, and death education in the Chinese context.
Appears in Collections:OAPS - Dept. of Applied Social Sciences

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