A Comparative Study of Death Anxiety Levels and Reflections among University Students

Author/s: Çağla Atmaca

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.37898/spc.2021.6.3.156 

Year: 2021 Vol: 6 Number: 3


This concurrent mixed-method research study aimed to validate the psychometric properties of Templer Death Anxiety Scale (TDAS) and compare death anxiety reflections of 332 university students at English Language Teaching (ELT) and English Language and Literature (ELL) departments at a state university in Turkey. The data were collected through the TDAS and semi-structured interviews. According to statistical results, the four-factor model of TDAS was confirmed in this study. Also, department and gender were associated with differences among the participants. In light of phenomenological analyses of the interviews, both ELT and ELL students mostly defined death as a state such as infinity, darkness, inception, endlessness, salvation, freedom, annihilation, uncertainty, and eternity. As for the symbols, the ELT participants used events like traffic accident, sudden death, flying, voyage to symbolise death whereas the ELL participants used some states like innocence, freedom, emptiness, coldness, darkness, loneliness to symbolise death. The results offer a new perspective for death anxiety research in terms of including a different group of participants and highlighting changing attitudes of ELL and ELT students towards death and death anxiety. Educational implications are also discussed.

Death anxiety, death attitudes, death education, pre-service teacher education, university students.

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