This study examined the concept of and attitudes toward death of university students and evaluated the efficacy of the death education courses offered by different universities in Hong Kong. The study adopted a pretreatment and posttreatment comparison approach in assessing the efficacy of the courses. The same set of instruments, Death Attitude Profile-Revised and Semantic Differential Ratings of Life and Death, measuring students' views of and attitudes toward death were administered to the students twice, once at the start of the courses and another at the end. Results of the pretreatment survey also served to depict the current state of students' views and attitudes. The target students comprised two groups: those taking the relevant courses and those not; this latter group served as a comparison group in assessing the treatment group's behavior. The achieved sample included 368 students who responded to both the pre- and posttreatment surveys, of which 134 had attended the relevant courses. The results indicated that the students had a more negative views on death as compared with that of life. Findings also suggested that the death education courses had significant and positive impact on the students, that is, viewing death more positively than before, having less fear and avoidance confronting death. However, the impact differed depending on the gender as well as death experience of the student.
Bibliographical noteThe author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The author has received a research grant from Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
- death attitude
- death awareness
- death education
- university students