Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Author's Department


First Advisor

William M. Hillner


Death anxiety has been previously investigated by many means including questionnaires and physiological and behavioral measures. Prior research indicated that paper and pencil scales of death anxiety correlated with physiological measures of anxiety. The present study was an attempt to construct and validate a large paper and pencil scale to measure death anxiety by using physiological measures of anxiety as external validation criteria. Sixty-six white female students were randomly selected from a pool of 80 volunteers obtained from introductory Psychology classes at Eastern Illinois University.

The physiological measure, changes in Galvanic Skin Response upon the presentation of 10 death-related and 20 neutral words, was recorded for each volunteer. Mean percent change in GSR, logarithm of mean percent change in GSR, and square root of mean percent change in GSR were computed for all 10 stimulus words for each student. A 102-item questionnaire was administered to each student and the above measures were correlated with each item of the questionnaire. This process yielded 16, 15, and 6 items respectively. A Kuder-Richardson measure of internal consistency indicated 44 items to be internally consistent. Twenty students were randomly selected to return and take the paper and pencil test in four weeks. A correlation of .8886, p .001 was obtained, an indication of a very high temporal reliability for the scale. It appears that death anxiety scales have high levels of internal consistency and temporal reliability but correlate very poorly with physiological indicators of anxiety.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Included in

Psychology Commons