Traumatic experiences stemming from ‘Kuki’-Meitei bloody clash Death anxiety among displaced inmates in burning Sanaleibak-Kangleipak
Chakpram Purnima Devi (UGC Junior Research Fellow Independent)
Background of the study
The current study is aimed at ascertaining traumatic experiences and its effect on death anxiety among inmates who had encountered life-threatening experiences due to violence resulting from a conflict between the “Kuki” and Meitei that has been simmering in Sanaleibak –Kangleipak since May 3, 2023. In this violence, over 160 people have been killed and more than 50 thousand people rendered homeless, taking shelters in the relief camps set up across the State.
The ex-post facto approach under the descriptive method was adopted. Altogether 151 subjects were involved in the study (females 95 and males 56) who hailed from Churachandpur, Torbung, Moreh, Khuga-tampak, Serou, Ekou Dolaithabi, Phougakchao Ikhai, and Awang Sekmai taking shelter in the Relief Camps located at Imphal. They were selected through the convenience sampling from a cross-section of inmates at a single point in time. The study was conducted during 20th June to 2nd July 2023.
Death Anxiety was measured using the Templer’s Death Anxiety Scale (DAS, Templer, 1970) . The DAS is a self-administered 15-item on 2 point scale as True or False, allocating 1 point to every question answered correctly and then summing up all the items. High scores on this Scale indicate high death anxiety, while low scores indicate low death anxiety. This Scale was found to have good psychometric properties, with a three-week test-retest reliability of 0.83 and internal consistency coefficient of 0.76.
This Scalewas found to be the most popular measure of death attitudes in the literature and it has been used throughout the world, with translation into several languages, as compared to any other attitude instruments.
It may be mentioned that now, researchers could also use the Templer’s 51-item Death Anxiety Scale—Extended published in September 2006.
To begin with, an ‘informed consent’ was obtained from the organizers of the relief camps and then from the would-be participants as well. After selection of the samples, the questionnaires were distributed to the participants on an appointed day in the camps itself. All questions in the questionnaire were bilingual with English and Native Language, so as to enable them to understand each question easily. The investigator briefed participants on the purpose of the study and due instructions were given before the administration of the questionnaires.
In case of illiterates/mere literate subjects, the researcher read out each question to the respondents and recorded their responses accordingly. Participants were given sufficient time to complete the questionnaires and any questions they had were answered by the researcher.
What is Anxiety?
The term anxiety is described as an uncomfortable emotional state characterized by inner turmoil and dread over anticipated future events, or apprehension of possible failure, misfortune, or danger. . Anxiety is closely related and overlap with fear, a response to perceived and actual threats, which often results in nervousness, rumination, pacing, and somatisation. Anxiety becomes pathological when it is so overwhelming that there is persistent distress, a decrease in quality of life, and impairment in regular major life activities.
What is Death Anxiety?
The term “death anxiety” is described as anxiety about many other aspects of death. For example, people may have fear of how they will die, how significant others will be affected by their death, what will happen after they die, that is, about their afterlife  It is conscious and unconscious fear of death and dying.
Death anxiety or fear of death is used synonymously by some researchers. For example, the Collet-Lester Fear of Death Scale is based on 4 aspects:1. Fear of Death of Self, 2. Fear of Dying of Self, 3. Fear of Death of Others, and 4. Fear of Dying of Others.
Death anxiety is a negative and apprehensive feeling that one has when feeling about death and dying. It was also distinguished into: “death anxiety” and “fear of death”, in which death anxiety refers to a dread of complete annihilation (abstract concept), while fear of death is a belief that death is frightening (concrete concept).
However, different researchers often use the terms “death anxiety” or “fear of death” to mean different aspects of this psychological construct. “Death” signifies end of life and “Death Anxiety” connotes feeling of fear of apprehension of death.
Death anxiety is “vague uneasy feeling of discomfort or dread generated by perceptions of a real or imagined threat to one’s existence”.It is also defined as “the state in which an individual experiences apprehension, worry, or fear related to death and dying”.To sum up, death anxiety is the fear and apprehension of death.
Is there any relationship of death anxiety with age, gender, education, occupation, marital status, and health?
(To be contd)