Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Home Economics Education


Home Economics Education

First Advisor

Patrica Smith Kelly


Children today have a limited knowledge and experience with death in our culture. This lack of experience has resulted in the tremendous fear of the unknown - death. Death education has been an attempt to reduce a child's anxiety toward death. Since it was uncertain whether death education was effective with young children this study was developed to test whether students being exposed to a death education program would have a better attitude toward death than students who had not had any death education. Death education hopefully improves one's attitude toward death.

One hundred and forty-six randomly selected students were surveyed from six of the middle/junior high schools in Rhode Island that included death education in their curriculum. Seventy-three of the students were exposed to the treatment, death education (experimental group) and the other seventy-three had no treatment (control group). The Hardt Death Attitude Seale was the instrument used to determine the attitude toward death of students in each group.

Two self-developed instruments were also used by the researcher. A Teacher's Survey and a Student's Survey were used to determine first the content of the death education program in each school as well as the experience of the teacher; and second, the previous experiences students have had with death.

The design of the study was a posttest only control group. Students were post tested with the Hardt test and the difference in means between the control group and the experiment was group was computed. AT-Test for dependent samples was employed to determine whether the difference was statistically significant. The T-Test proved that there was a significant difference in mean scores of the two groups and the null hypothesis - There is no significant difference in attitudes toward death between students who have been exposed to death education in school and students who have not been exposed to death education – was rejected.

Results of this study indicated that students who had been exposed to death education had a more positive attitude toward death. Thus, death education is effective.



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