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A Comparative study of attitudes and anxieties concerning death and dying.
Death is one of the most difficult areas with which a nurse must learn to cope as she must work with her own feelings about it before she can be of therapeutic value to the dying patient. This study was conduced to gain further understanding of the nurses’ attitudes and anxieties about death and dying. Nursing groups were compared with non-nursing groups with respect to their attitudes and anxieties concerning death and the dying process. Aspects expected to influence attitudes and anxieties towards death which were studied included: age, degree or religiosity, and experience with death and dying, and choice of area of practice of nursing. The sample included 220 subjects representing six groups of women: a registered nurse group with a comparison age group of non-nursing women, a senor nursing student group with a group of non-nursing upper division women students, and a freshman group with a group of non-nursing lower division women students. The study was conducted by using a questionnaire which included the Emotionality and Evaluative factors from Folta’s Attitude Scale; a death anxiety scale constructed by the investigator; and selected item from Vernon’s Questionnaire on death and dying. The scores of the six groups were compared by analysis of variance for the three scales: Emotionality, Evaluative, and Anxiety. All other times, e.g., age, religion, and experience with death, were scored for the combined total sample and correlated with the Emotionality, Evaluative, and Anxiety Scales. There were no significant differences between the six groups on the Emotionality Scale. On the Evaluative Scale, the senor nursing student and the career women had significantly higher scores than the other groups indicating negative attitudes towards death and dying. On Anxiety the lower division students scored significantly higher than the other five groups. In comparing the registered nurses by their choice of area of nursing practice, no significant differences were found on the Emotionality, Evaluative, or Anxiety Scales. Findings relevant to all six combined groups included the following: the age of the person was not significantly related to the Emotionality, Evaluative, or Anxiety Scales. The more religious a person declared himself the lower were his score on the Emotionality and Evaluative Scales, indicating a positive attitude toward death and dying. Those indicating a strong belief in an after life had significantly lower Emotionality and Evaluative scores, indicating positive attitudes towards death. Fear of God correlated with high anxiety scores as well as high Evaluative and Anxiety scores indicating negative attitudes towards death and dying. Another significant finding was that the more experience the subjects reported involving contact with dying patients, the less anxious they tended to be. The investigator made recommendations for future studies on the basis of this study.
University of Utah;
Nurses; Attitude (Psychology);
Attitude to Death; Nursing;
University of Utah;
Relation-Is Version Of
Digital reproduction of “A Comparative study of attitudes and anxieties concerning death and dying.” Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. Print version of “A Comparative study of attitudes and anxieties concerning death and dying.” available at J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collection. RT2.5 1970 .F6.