Traumatic experiences stemming from ‘Kuki’-Meitei bloody clash Death anxiety among displaced inmates in burning Sanaleibak-Kangleipak

Chakpram Purnima Devi, UGC’s Junior Research Fellow (Independent)
Contd from previous issue

Table 6 : Occupation and Death Anxiety: The occupation of the subjects statistically (>0.05) had nothing to do with death anxiety; however, those working in organized sector (M=11.25, SD=2.31) tended to have higher death anxiety than students/homemakers (M=9.73, SD=2.79) and unorganized workers (M=9.74, SD=3.04). Hence, the hypothesis that “There will be significant differences in death anxiety among people working in organised and unorganised sector, including unemployed partici- pants” was not supported.
Table 7:Marital Status and Death Anxiety: No significant (>0.05 level) differences in death anxiety between married (M=10.13, SD=2.97) and unmarried respondents (M=9.35, SD=2.71), but married individuals appeared to have higher death anxiety than unmarried ones.
Hence, the hypothesis that “Married inmates would have higher death anxiety than unmarried ones” was not supported.
Table 8:Self-Reported Physical Health and Death Anxiety: No significant (>0.05) difference in death anxiety between respondents who had self-reported their physical health to be Poor (M=10.75, SD=2.62), Moderate (M=10.18, SD=2.52), and Good M=8.51, SD=2.97), but participants with Good physical health tended to have lower death anxiety. Thus, the hypothesis “Participants with good physical health would have lower death anxiety than participants with poor physical health” was not supported.
Findings and Conclusion
After holding other variables constant, the present study found female and illiterate/mere literate inmates to have significantly higher levels of death anxiety. Although we found no significant difference in death anxiety based on age, marital status, occupation, and self-reported physical health, younger and married participants, those working in the organized sector occupations and participants with poor and moderate physical health tended to have slightly higher death anxiety levels as compared with their respective counterparts.
On the other hand, considering the present death-related traumatic experiences being encountered most particularly by displaced people, we believed that it could have possible destructive impact on the development of many types of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders. From among the anxiety disorders, we need to pay special attention to separation anxiety/disorder,panic attack/disorder, and other disorders that were/are likely to be experienced by such displaced populations regard- less of Kuki, Meitei, Meitei Pangal, Bihari, Gujarati, Tamil, etc.
It is, therefore, highly imperative to take up the appropriate measures for en masse rehabilitation of displaced inmates/refugees in consultation with the experts in the field. The sooner the intervention, the better. Further investigation of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs) by mental health professional may be warranted.
The study was not free from certain limitations, including small sample size, bias answer, hidden agenda, and influence of the intervening and/or extraneous variables. Regarding gene-ralizability, we may find it difficult to generalize the findings of the present study to the whole displaced inmate population because of such limitations; however, transferabilityof the findings to the whole displaced inmate population across the State, where similar situations on the ground exist, could be safely considered.
What are the destructive consequences of death anxiety ?
Death anxiety is both normal and universal; however, it has its own adaptive and maladaptive consequences. Regarding adap- tive consequences, study found a positive side of death anxiety, in which, for example, death awareness and anxiety increase the sense of commitment in romantic relationships. Anxiety is designed to protect us from danger and allow us to react quickly to emergencies. And anxious people tend to be more cautious.
Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involved repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).
But several studies found maladaptive consequences of death anxiety, with a significant consequence for mental health problems. One commonly destructive reaction that arises when death is thought about is death anxiety. Death anxiety is defined as “the state in which an individual experiences apprehension, worry, or fear related to death and dying”.
Clinical psychology research indicated that death anxiety can have a deleterious effect on wellbeing, contributing to the development and maintenance of many psychological post traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs), and other anxiety disorders, such aseparation anxiety/disorder, panic anxiety/disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, hypochondriasis, acute stress disorder, agoraphobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD), depressive disorders, and eating disorders (see Iverach&Men for a review).
What are the post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs)?
The term “post-traumatic stress disorder” came into use in the 1970s, in large part due to the diagnosis of U.S. military veterans of the Vietnam War. It was officially recognized by the American Psychological Association in 1980 in the 3rd edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-III). PTSD is a mental and behavior disorder that develops from experiencing a traumatic event,such as warfare, sexual, traffic collisions, child abuse, domestic violence, or other threats on a person’s life[90], in which sudden and unexpected death of a loved one is the most common traumatic event type reported in cross-sectional studies.
It accounts for approximately 20% of PTSD cases worldwide.It was evident, genetically, that susceptibility to PTSD is hereditary, with approximately 30% of the variance in PTSD is caused from genetics alone.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder arising as a delayed and protected responses after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event involving actual or of threatened death or serious injury to self or others. It is characterized by intense fear, helplessness or horror lasting more than four weeks, the traumatic event being persistently re-experienced in the form of distressing recollections, recurrent dreams, sensation of reliving the experience, hallucinations (Sensory perception in the absence of any corresponding external sensory stimuli, e.g., hearing non-existent sounds, seeing non-existent objects, smelling non-existent odours, tasting non-existent substances, or feeling non-existent stimuli.
(To be contd)