Attitudes Toward Death

Death is a very sensitive topic.  Many people find it hard to discuss death.  Feelings and attitudes about death can be influenced by many factors.

  • Experience with Death.  Someone who has been through other deaths may have a different understanding of death than someone who has never experienced the death of someone close.
  • Personality Type.  Open, expressive people may have an easier time talking about and coping with death than people who are very reserved or quiet.  Expressing feelings is a way of working through fears and concerns.
  • Religious Beliefs.  Religious practices and beliefs influence the experience with death. This includes the process of dying, rituals at the of death, burial or cremation practices, services held after death, and mourning customers.  For example, some Catholics do not believe in cremation. Orthodox Jews may not believe in viewing the body after death.  Beliefs about what happens to people after death can influence grieving.  People who believe in afterlife, such as heaven, may be comforted this belief.
  • Cultural Background.  The practices we grow up with will affect how we deal with death.  Different cultural groups may have different practices to deal with death and grieving.  Some groups provide meals and other services but say very little about a person’s death.  In other cultures, talking about and remembering the person who has died may be a way of comforting family and friends.