Vaccination anxiety when vaccinations are available: The role of existential concerns

Ehud Bodner, Yoav S. Bergman, Boaz Ben-David, Yuval Palgi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined how existential fears are related to COVID-19 vaccination anxiety and followed the Terror Management Theory (TMT) by examining the contribution of two existential concerns, subjective nearness-to-death (SNtD) and death anxiety, to COVID-19 vaccination anxiety during the first month of COVID-19 vaccinations. Data were collected during January 2021, when Israel was in lockdown, from a convenience sample of 381 Jewish Israelis (M = 55.39, SD = 17.17). Participants completed questionnaires examining demographics, SNtD, death anxiety and COVID-19 vaccination anxiety. A hierarchical regression analysis examined the connections between these variables and COVID-19 vaccination anxiety while controlling for demographics and for receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. In line with the hypotheses, SNtD and death anxiety were each positively associated with COVID-19 vaccination anxiety, and death anxiety levels moderated the positive connection between SNtD and COVID-19 vaccination anxiety, as this association was not significant for individuals with low death anxiety. The findings of this study provide preliminary evidence concerning the role of death anxiety in moderating the effect that SNtD has on COVID-19 vaccination anxiety. These findings are in line with the TMT and justify further investigation and may be utilized in future research in order to address COVID-19 vaccination anxiety more effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalStress and Health
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jul 2021
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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