Attitudes of Associate Degree Nursing Students Toward Death and Dying

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

John R. Rachal

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


It is estimated that one out of three practicing nurses deal with dying patients once a week or more often. Some 70% of nurses who provide daily nursing care for dying or terminally ill patients work in hospitals. Since the philosophy of most associate degree nursing programs is to prepare graduates in the role of primary, technical caregivers, it is appropriate to assess the attitudes of ADN nursing students toward death and dying. The purpose of this study was to determine if there exist significant differences in attitude toward death and dying in a sample of ADN students and to determine the effectiveness of an experiential program based on principles of adult education. A control and an experimental group were designated from ADN students who volunteered to assist in the research process. Both groups were administered two measurement tools in a pretest/post test format in a six week interval. The tools selected to measure attitudes were the 1990 revision of the Collett-Lester Fear of Death Scale and Concept Media's Perspectives of Death and Dying Questionnaire. The only significant difference in this sample was on the parameter related to fear of one's own death. The experimental group showed less fear of one's own death after an experiential program than the control group.