Religiosity and Attitude in the Face of Death in Brazilian Elderly

Religiosity and Attitude in the Face of Death in Brazilian Elderly

Marta Helena Freitas (Catholic University of Brasília, Brazil), Claudia Cristina Fukuda (Catholic University of Brasília, Brazil), Vicente Paulo Alves (Catholic University of Brasília, Brazil) and Lucy de Oliveira Gomes (Catholic University of Brasília, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4772-3.ch010
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This chapter investigated possible links between religious motivations, attitudes, and coping in the face of death in Brazil. The participants included 478 people aged between 41 and 100 years, most of them women (77.82%). It employed the religious orientation scale (31 items), religious coping scale (33 items), and scale of attitudes in the face of death (46 items). Data were analyzed by means Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (Pearson), analysis of variance (ANOVA), exploratory factor analysis and internal consistency analysis (Cronbach's alpha). The overall survey results are presented in two large blocks. The first describes the correlations between the factors of religious coping, religious orientation, and attitudes in the face of death. The second presents the relationship between elderly's socio-biographical characteristics (age, income, education, gender, religion, and marital status), guidance and religious coping factors, and attitudes in the face of death. Finally, the authors discuss the results and their implications for the elderly.
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Every day I try to support

my own renewed personality,

plummeting into me all that is old and dead.

—Cora Coralina (1993, p. 76)

Death is not extinguishing the light;

it is only putting out the lamp

because the dawn has come

—Rabindranath Tagore (n.d.)


The Elderly In Brazil And In The Federal District

The elderly population has increased significantly, both worldwide and in Brazil. This increase constitutes one of the most significant demographic changes in recent decades. Results of a descriptive study by Vasconcelos and Gomes (2012) point out that since 1950, declines in mortality rates, birth, and fertility characterized the Brazilian demographic transition process, so that the age structure started its aging process. They also indicate that such changes did not occur simultaneously or evenly in the major regions of Brazil. The Southeast, South, and Midwest Regions (the latter including the Federal District or DF) are far more advanced in the process, while the North and Northeast regions maintain higher mortality and fecundity levels, and age structures that are less aged.

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)1 (2017), from its projection system of the resident population in Brazil (adjusted every second), the Brazilian population in mid-2017 is approximately 208 million people, of which 8.46% is over 65 years of age (3.64% male and 4.82% female). This proportion is expected to grow to about 59% by 2030. This increase in the elderly population is also accompanied by the feminization of old age, especially in urban areas, due to greater participation of women in the urban-rural migration process (Camarano & Kanso, 2011).

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