Term of Award

Spring 1977

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Charlene R. Black

Committee Member 1

Larry A. Platt

Committee Member 2

Robert W. Greenfield

Abstract

The underlying assumption of this study is that ours is a death denying society, with the discussion of death being considered taboo. This study is designed as an effort to determine what factors or variables might enable individuals to be more willing to talk about death. The study involves the construction of a measuring Instrument for willingness to talk about death, the distribution of this instrument among hospital and industrial employees, and the tests of hypotheses in relation to respondents' scores on this instrument.

This study would seemingly be of interest to every member of our society, since death is an event that no one can avoid. Under almost any situation or condition, the death of someone around us or the anticipation of our own death is an experience with which most people find difficult to deal. It would seem, then that any attempt to make this experience easier or more meaningful would be of benefit to all those involved.

Information gained from this study which might indicate influential factors in increasing willingness to talk about death could, of course, be beneficial in the hospital setting in terms of training programs for staff and counseling with patients. But this information could also be useful in the development of programs outside the hospital setting aimed at helping individuals of our society deal with death.

In recent years, more interest has been directed to the area of death and dying, concentration being in the establishment of the types of attitudes or reactions of terminally ill patients and their attending medical staff. This study, however, approaches the issue in a different vein, looking not at the hospital employee/patient relationship but at the personal interactions and dealing with death of the hospital employee outside of the hospital setting. This study considers medical employees as individuals comparable to other members of our society who have to deal with death on a personal level.The sample is classified in three ways: medical hospital employees, non-medical hospital employees, and industrial employees, and these three groups are compared in terms of their willingness to talk about death.

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