Université de Tunis El Manar, Faculté de médecine, Tunis, Tunisie
Hôpital Razi, La Mannouba, Tunisie
Background: Death distress is a significant problem in the older population and may be more pronounced in certain vulnerable older people, including those living in nursing home facilities. We aimed to assess death obsession (DO) in elderly people without dementia living in nursing homes, and to examine the association between DO and religiosity. Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional survey involving 42 elderly subjects living in a nursing home in Manouba, Tunisia. The “Mini-Mental State Examination”, “Geriatric Depression Scale”, “Activity of Daily Living”, “Cumulative Illness Rating Scale-Geriatric”, “Death Obsession Scale”, “Brief Religious Coping Scale” and “Arabic Religiosity Scale” were used to assess cognitive functions, depression, level of dependency, comorbidities, death obsession, religious coping, and religiosity, respectively. Results: We found relatively high death obsession scores, with no gender differences (mean scores = 33.1 ± 18.1). Death obsession was significantly and positively associated with comorbidity scores (p = 0.04). No significant correlation was found between death obsession scores and religiosity and religious coping scores based on the bivariate analysis. Similarly, multiple hierarchical regression revealed that religious variables (overall religiosity and religious coping) did not significantly contribute to variance in death obsession. Conclusion: Older people living in nursing homes have specific psychosocial and spiritual needs which health care providers should recognise, assess and treat appropriately, at an early stage.