Roles of employment status and emotion regulation in death anxiety among people living with HIV/AIDS

  • Johnbosco Chika Chukwuorji
  • Comfort Victoria Chukwu
  • Charity Ngozi Uzuegbu
  • Chuka Mike Ifeagwazi
Keywords: Death anxiety, emotion regulation, employment status, psychopathology, quality of life.


Death anxiety is one of the most commonly observed mental health sequelae of HIV/AIDS. However, there is limited research on contributions of employment status and emotion regulation strategies in death anxiety. This study examined the role of employment status and contributions of emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) in multidimensional death anxiety among people living with HIV (PLWHA). The dimensions of death anxiety consisted of four facets, namely, death acceptance, externally generated death anxiety, death finality, and thoughts about death. Participants were 186 PLWHA (Mage = 34.16 years, 56.5% women) from the HIV/AIDS care unit of a tertiary healthcare institution in south-eastern Nigeria. Data was collected using self-report measures of the variables, namely, Emotion Regulation Questionnaire and Death Anxiety Inventory - Revised (DAI-R). Participants also provided some demographic information including their employment status.  We found that employed persons reported lower death anxiety. Cognitive reappraisal did not significantly predict any of the dimensions of death anxiety. Expressive suppression predicted reduced anxiety about death in the dimensions of death acceptance and death finality. The emotion regulation strategies failed to moderate the association between employment status and death anxiety, such that the impact of employment status on death anxiety did not vary as a function of deployment of specific emotion regulation strategies.  Findings underscore the benefits of formal employment, and how interventions can help to improve the employment situation of PLWHA.



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