Influence of betrayal trauma on death anxiety.

Existentially oriented thinkers propose that anxiety about one’s eventual demise (i.e., death anxiety) is a salient feature of the human condition and the underlying cause of psychological distress. They further propose that exposure to trauma is likely to evoke death anxiety, an idea that has been supported by the research literature. Research also suggests that trauma with a high degree of betrayal (high betrayal trauma) has an especially pernicious effect on psychological distress. However, this has not yet been demonstrated with respect to death anxiety in particular. In this study, we examined the incremental effects of high betrayal trauma and other traumatic experiences with lower degrees of betrayal on death anxiety in a large sample of college students (N = 915) using a Bayesian approach to multiple linear regression. Results suggest that high betrayal has a positive incremental influence on death anxiety over and above other forms of trauma and is the sole predictor of death anxiety. These results extend and integrate the research literature on death anxiety and betrayal trauma, further underscoring the association between high betrayal trauma and psychological distress. Directions for future research and potential clinical implications are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)