This study describes the psychological effects of death education in reducing the fear of death in a large cohort of Italian adolescents. Following the constructs of “distal defenses” and “mortality salience” of Terror Management Theory, this research intervention also evaluated the proposition that spirituality and belief in an afterlife could provide an effective buffer against fear of death. Five hundred thirty-four Italian high school students participated in a school-based death education program with an experimental group and a nonrandomized control condition. Using a pre/post-course design, we assessed fear of death, alexithymia, and representations of death and spirituality for both groups. Results confirmed that the course reduced death fears and the representation of death as annihilation while also enhancing spirituality. In particular, the older participants in the death education course increased their spirituality and decreased their fear of death, whereas females reduced their conviction that death was an absolute annihilation. Finally, the structural model suggested that alexithymia mediates the relationships among fear of death and spirituality; in particular, fear of death predicted more alexithymia and more alexithymia predicted lower spirituality.

The effect of death education on fear of death amongst Italian adolescents: A nonrandomized controlled study

Testoni, Ines;CUPIT, ILLENE NOPPE;Nodari, Elisa;Bormolini, Guidalberto;Cordioli, Claudia;Zamperini, Adriano
2019

Abstract

This study describes the psychological effects of death education in reducing the fear of death in a large cohort of Italian adolescents. Following the constructs of “distal defenses” and “mortality salience” of Terror Management Theory, this research intervention also evaluated the proposition that spirituality and belief in an afterlife could provide an effective buffer against fear of death. Five hundred thirty-four Italian high school students participated in a school-based death education program with an experimental group and a nonrandomized control condition. Using a pre/post-course design, we assessed fear of death, alexithymia, and representations of death and spirituality for both groups. Results confirmed that the course reduced death fears and the representation of death as annihilation while also enhancing spirituality. In particular, the older participants in the death education course increased their spirituality and decreased their fear of death, whereas females reduced their conviction that death was an absolute annihilation. Finally, the structural model suggested that alexithymia mediates the relationships among fear of death and spirituality; in particular, fear of death predicted more alexithymia and more alexithymia predicted lower spirituality.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3296594
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