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Role of Religion in Dying
Advanced Psychology Seminar


Questions
How important is a unifying philosophy in your life?

Is it a comfort to you and how?

Who is the most influential person to you? What do you believe about him or her?

What is your most important relationship?

Do you communicate with that person often? How frequently? What is the degree of depth of the relationship?

Have you ever felt alienated by this important person?

How important is religion/spirituality in your life?

Is it a comfort to you and how?

What do you believe about God?

What do you believe about an afterlife?

Is there a person in Biblical literature with whom you identify?

To what other existing relationships might you equate yours with God?

Do you engage in private prayer? How often?

Have you ever felt alienated from your spiritual community?

Discussion
Imagine the previous questions in the context of dying. Do you believe your answers would change? If so, how?

To what degree is our sense of religion, if it exists, a function of anxiety regulation
    Erich Fromm
    Rollo May
    Gordon Allport
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance

Pevey, Jones, & Yarber (2008)
Literature
    Religion and death coping
    Religion and bereavement

Method: 38 interviews with dying hospice patients, 32-95 years, 22F/16M, mostly Christians

Results
    Religions comfort: cosmic order, divine relations, afterlife
    Identifications: represents relationship with God
    Social support: relatively unimportant

Discussion
    Feeling “in control” is important to people faced with crisis
    Personal relationship with divine other is important; God as a supportive partner
    Relative unimportance of afterlife (except concept of grace and concern about behaviors in this life)
    Religious social support least mentioned

Critique of article
    Methods problems? (sampling, qualitative design, analysis)
    Should other questions have been asked of the participants?
    Was literature adequate to inform study design?
    Were conclusions appropriate?

Other Literature
Back to Kubler-Ross’s findings

Other Interpretations
    FAAR model (Family adjustment and adaptation response)
    Fromm
    Allport
    May

Concluding Questions

What then might the role of religion be in other major crises, such as grief or relationship loss?

Introduce meaning making perspective in dealing with grief