The Effectiveness of Compassion-Focused Therapy on Ambiguity Tolerance and Death Anxiety in the Elderly

Document Type : Original Article


1 M.A, holder, Department of Psychology, Dezful Branch, Islamic Azad University, Dezful, Iran

2 Assistant Professor Department of Psychology, Dezful Branch, Islamic Azad University, Dezful, Iran



Aging is a biological process that all living things, including humans, experience; therefore, it is important to pay special attention to it and prevent disorders such as anxiety among elderly. Death and the anxiety related to it are inevitable in old age which weaken compatibility in elderly due to the ambiguity caused. In this regard, the present study aimed to determine the effectiveness of compassion-based therapy on tolerance of ambiguity and death anxiety of elderly. It was a quasi-experimental study with pretest, posttest and control group design. The statistical population of the study included all elderly living in Khoram Abad nursing homes in 2019. The participants consisted of 30 elderlies (16 males and 14 females, M=64.06, SD=6.5) who were selected through available sampling according to inclusion criteria. The experimental group received eight ninety-minute sessions during two months, while the control group didn’t receive any intervention during the study. The applied questionnaires in the study included Ambiguity Tolerance Scale (McLain, 2009), and Fear of Death Scale (Collet–Lester, 1969). Data were analyzed using univariate analysis of covariance. The findings suggested a significant difference between the experimental and control groups in terms of their abilities to tolerate ambiguity and death anxiety. In other words, compassion-based therapy increased the patient's ability to tolerate ambiguity and reduce anxiety about death (P<0.001). According to the findings of the present study, compassion-focused therapy can be suggested as an efficient method in order to increase ambiguity tolerance and decrease death anxiety in the elderly.


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