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“The lived experience of fear during life-changing events, and the implications to subjective well-being”.

believe-IN conducted, at Glasgow Caledonian University, the first known research study on the lived experience of fear during life-changing events. The goal of this study was to describe for the first time, the subjective experience of fear, during life-changing events, in adulthood.

Research  Study Conclusions (short)

The findings corroborate that the experience of fear has personal significance, physiological, behavioural, and physical specific aspects.

Themes Identified

  • The Mind and Cognitive Functions

  • Fear of Fears, values, and intensity

  • The feeling of Fear Behaviours and Physiological reactions

  • Well-being Impact

  • Identity Change

  • Empowerment & Emotions interaction

The ‘Feeling of fear’ in life-changing events is a continual presence, with the mind at its command for protection of the self-identity, with an impact on subjective well-being; as it is influenced by social interactions, as associates with other emotions, and correlates to identity change.

In conclusion, the conscious feeling of fear is recognisably an important emotion in the processes of life-events as it is high in transitions. All transitional experiences carry a sense of loss and grief, as there may be a fear of the unknown combined with loss. Endings of previous psychosocial structures, with disengagement from the old to build a new Self, make these times of great instability, inducing fear, anxiety, and stress but also providing a sense of empowerment transforming it in a personal growth opportunity.

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(feeling fear during Life-changing Events)

Feeling the fear in life-changing events is a continual presence with the mind at its commands for protection of the self-identity, it holds a sense as if a dark place, filled with emptiness and unknown wanting to meet knowledge once the known (old) reality no longer exists., Márcia Pinho,

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Lived experience of fear reported by seven females, three males age range 38-58 years old (mean = 46.7), with no mental health disorder.


Major Life-changing events reported:

  • breast cancer

  • bereavement

  • divorce/relationships break up

  • employment, career change

  • sudden disability

  • country relocation

  • and more life-events, as participants reported concurrent life change events happening as a result of a major one

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