Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Joshua Hart


death anxiety, terror management theory, implicit, psychological defense, worldview defense


While there is ample reason to expect a relationship between religiosity and death anxiety, conflicting results across studies indicate a need to separately measure the unconscious and conscious aspects of death anxiety in order to further the research and refine theory. The current study tests the hypothesis that those who are more religious will demonstrate greater implicit death anxiety (IDA) and lower explicit death anxiety (EDA) than those who are lower in religiosity. Due to a lack of adequate measures for IDA, a self-report measure was created for the purpose of this study in order to assess death anxiety below consciousness. In Study 1, participants responded to self-report questionnaires targeting IDA, EDA, religiosity, and control variables of attachment style and self-esteem. I found that there was no association between EDA and religiosity, but those who were more religious exhibited more IDA. In Study 2, controlling for “pro-life” ideology reversed the results, such that those who were more religious had somewhat lower IDA than those who were not. While the results are not in line with the original hypothesis, this study provides useful directions for future research as well as a potential measure of IDA to use going forward.