Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Journal of Death And Dying

Perhaps the strangest most (necessarily though) obsessive science journal I came across a good few years ago was OMEGA: The Journal Of Death And Dying. Aimed at professional thanatologists and the like, there is something immensely sobering yet surreal about the nature of some of the articles. Below is a list of abstracts from the journal. They provide a fascinating gamut of Saturnine studies often from the most oblique of perspectives on a single dominant theme.


OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 50, Number 4 / 2004-2005
Pages: 267 - 280
URL: Linking Options
DEATH IN DISNEY FILMS: IMPLICATIONS FOR CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING OF DEATH
MEREDITH COX A1, ERIN GARRETT A1, JAMES A. GRAHAM A1
A1 The College of New Jersey, Ewing
Abstract:
This study examined the potential influence of Disney films on children's concepts of death. A content analysis was performed on 23 death scenes from 10 selected full-length Disney Classic animated films. The portrayal of death focused on five categories: character status; depiction of death; death status; emotional reaction; and causality. The findings indicate that some animated Disney films present scenes that eclipse the permanence and irreversibility of death and often leave deaths (especially those of villains) emotionally unacknowledged. Previous work has shown that many children tend not to discuss death with their friends or parents for many reasons. More importantly, the films may serve as catalysts to introduce the concept of death into discussions between children, peers, and adults.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 53, Number 1-2 / 2006
Pages: 37 - 49
URL: Linking Options
ARE THEY HALLUCINATIONS OR ARE THEY REAL? THE SPIRITUALITY OF DEATHBED AND NEAR-DEATH VISIONS
L. STAFFORD BETTY A1
A1 California State University, Bakersfield
Abstract:
The focus here is mainly on visions of deceased relatives and friends that persons near death often report. Are they visions of real people who live in an afterlife environment or are they hallucinations? Most social scientists assume they are hallucinations, but a thorough and careful analysis of the evidence does not point to this conclusion. The argument for the reality of such visions is muddied, however, by aspects of the visions that are dependent on the personal histories of the percipients and suggest, in some cases, illusory content. A theory that makes sense of all aspects of these visions is developed and defended, then tied into our theme: the spirituality of death.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 53, Number 3 / 2006
Pages: 249 - 262
URL: Linking Options

DEAD MEN TALKING: EVIDENCE OF POST DEATH CONTACT AND CONTINUING BONDS
CRAIG M. KLUGMAN A1
A1 University of Nevada, Reno
Abstract:
Post Death Contact (PDC) is when a living individual feels that a person who is deceased is reaching out to connect with the living. Such experiences may be part of a model of grieving called Continuing Bonds. In order to further investigate the relationship between PDCs and the grieving process, a random telephone survey was developed to determine the ways in which PDCs are experienced in the United States. Most commonly, subjects reported PDCs that included dreams, sounds, feeling a presence, and having conversations. The results suggest that experiencing PDCs may be a lifelong phenomenon and more widespread than previously thought.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 53, Number 3 / 2006
Pages: 243 - 248
URL: Linking Options
NICKNAMES INCREASE LONGEVITY
ERNEST L. ABEL A1 and MICHAEL L. KRUGER A1
A1 Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
Abstract:
We investigated the effect of having a nickname on the longevity of major league baseball players. Ages of death, birth year, and career lengths of major league baseball players who debuted prior to 1950 were obtained and we compared longevities of players with nicknames with those who did not have a nickname. After controlling for these factors in analysis of covariance, there was a statistically significant increase in longevity of 2.5 years associated with having a nickname. Players with nicknames (N = 2,666; 38.1%) lived an average of 68.6 (±15.1 S.D.) years compared to players without nicknames (N = 4,329; 61.9%) who lived an average of 66.1 (±16.1) years. We attributed this nickname-related effect on longevity to enhanced self-esteem.
OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 49, Number 4 / 2004
Pages: 287 - 297
URL: Linking Options


OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 47, Number 3 / 2003
Pages: 221 - 244
URL: Linking Options
ROADSIDE MEMORIALS
CHARLES O. COLLINS A1 and CHARLES D. RHINE A1
A1 University of Northern Colorado
Abstract:
Roadside memorials or descansos have diffused from a Mexican/ Southwestern regional Hispanic hearth to increasingly draw the attention of motorists and public officials throughout the United States. In the current context, the authors' attention is on privately and spontaneously erected memorials placed at the sites of fatal events. Typically these result from automobile accidents, though not exclusively. The intent of the present article is three-fold: 1) to identify meaning and significance in the precise placement of contemporary markers; 2) to directly investigate the motivation and purposes of memorial/descanso builders; and 3) to survey issues of traffic safety, highway maintenance, landscape or visual blight, and church/state relations arising from the placement and maintenance of these roadside memorials.
This is where I see him best. (Father of traffic victim)
This is holy ground. (Mother of teenage rollover fatality)



OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 39, Number 3 / 1999
Pages: 229 - 232
URL: Linking Options
Suicide among Carpenters: A Multivariate Analysis
Steven Stack
Abstract:
Previous work on broad occupational groups has noted that suicide rates are higher among manual workers than nonmanual workers. However, it is not clear if this is due to occupational strains per se, or the covariates of manual worker status such as gender, and marital strain. The present study explores suicide risk among a group of skilled manual workers: carpenters. Data are taken from the U.S. Public Health Service Annual Mortality Detail File tapes for 1990. A bivariate analysis finds that carpenters are 1.996 times more likely than the rest of the working age population to die of suicide. However, once controls are introduced for gender, race, marital status and other socio-demographic variables, carpenters are only 1.15 times more at risk of suicide than the working age population. The results are consistent with those of an earlier study of laborers. While working class occupations are marked by suicide risk, the risk may be due more to the covariates of these occupations than the occupations themselves.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 37, Number 2 / 1998
URL: Linking Options
The Sympathy Card as Cultural Assessment of American Attitudes Toward Death, Bereavement and Extending Sympathy: A Replicated Study
Charmaine Caldwell, Marsha McGee, and Charles Pryor
Abstract:
In 1980, Marsha McGee conducted a study to evaluate the content of sympathy cards to view the American treatment of death, bereavement, and sympathy. She surveyed eighty-seven college students to determine their use of and attitudes toward sympathy cards. Fifteen years later this study replicates that undertaking in an attempt to determine what attitude changes have occurred, if any. One hundred thirty-seven sympathy cards were analyzed, and ninety-three people competed a questionnaire. Data gathered were compared to the original results with the determination that in fact there have been subtle changes in many respects; however, the reluctance to confront death in our expressions of sympathy and to use "that word" remains as staunch as ever.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 36, Number 1 / 1997-1998
URL: Linking Options
The Death of Jesus, Christian Salvation, and Easter-Week Atrocities Against Jews: A Suicidological Approach
Kalman J. Kaplan
Abstract:
A question ignored by suicidologists is the degree to which major Christian theologians have stressed that Jesus gave up his life voluntarily as an act of salvation for mankind and that it was not taken by another. Indeed His death, in Durkheim's terms, is an "altruistic suicide" and is offered as a standard of love for others. Nevertheless, the Jewish people have been historically blamed for His death with many anti-Jewish persecutions occurring coincidentally with the Christian Holy week. The believing Christian can be seen as a survivor of "altruistic suicide," certain New Testament passages as s suicide note, Easter Week as the anniversary date of Jesus' death, and anti-Jewish persecutions during this period as displacement of survivor guilt into aggression toward Jesus' family of origin.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 34, Number 3 / 1996-1997
URL: Linking Options
Lassie Come Home: A Study of "Lost Pet" Notices
Allan Kellehear and Jan Fook
Abstract:
This is a report of a qualitative, content analysis of 100 "Lost Pet" notices. The aim of the study was to identify what literary techniques people employed to express their loss given a highly diverse public that may, or many not, be sympathetic to expressions of grief over pets. Four notice types were identified: The simple public notice [impersonal] (20%); the simple public notice [personalized] (55%); the personal appeal notice (21%) and; the owner's story notice (4%). The relationship between these styles of writing and public sanctions against open grief are discussed. Directions for future research are identified.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 33, Number 4 / 1996
URL: Linking Options
Graveside Deaths
Bruce L. Danto, Mark L. Taff, and Lauren R. Boglioli
Abstract:
Cemeteries are designed to provide mourners with a semiprivate place to express their grief. The cemetery is symbolic of the reunification of the living with the dead. Deaths, particularly suicides, occurring in cemeteries are a rare phenomena. Graveside suicides represent an exaggerated form of pathological mourning and grief reaction. Graveside suicides are analogous to a death pact between two persons in which the second death occurs as a reaction to the first, in the cemetery where the first is buried, and without the knowledge of the first. Case histories of graveside suicides are presented, as well as a brief discussion of other types of injuries and deaths occurring in cemeteries. A profile of the graveside suicide victim, the psychodynamics of grief reactions, and the medicolegal implications related to a cemetery security are also presented.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 24, Number 2 / 1991-1992
URL: Linking Options
Through a Glass Darkly: Images of the Dead in Dreams
Deirdre Barrett
Abstract:
This study examined dreams about the dead. There were four categories of activities reported in these: the deceased described the state of death, delivered messages to the living, sought to change the circumstances of their death, or gave loved ones a chance to say 'goodbye.' Some of these categories occurred at a particular point in the grief process; others occurred at any time after the death. A remarkably large number of the dead telephoned. These dreams are discussed in terms of what they illuminate about attitudes toward mortality and loss.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 20, Number 3 / 1989
URL: Linking Options
Themes of Death and Violence in Lullabies of Different Countries
Kalle Acht , Ritva Fagerstr m, Juha Pentik inen, and Norman L. Farberow
Abstract:
Lullabies are often divided into mourning songs describing the death or funeral of the child and threat songs which threaten the child with violence if he does not go to sleep. Threat songs are considerably more common then lullabies with death themes; according to results of the present survey, the former were found in many parts of the world. Lullabies with death themes are frequent in Finno-Ugric and Slavic cultures but not in most others. The survey covered twenty-six countries as well as certain ethnic groups.

OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying
Issue: Volume 20, Number 2 / 1989
URL: Linking Options
The Distant Mourner: An Examination of the American Gravedigger
Gay Petrillo
Abstract:
Despite innumerable thanatological research, little has been done concerning the gravedigger and his role in the mourning process. What is known about him, consequently, is based primarily on myths, superstitions, and prejudices. To examine the validity of these myths, a preliminary investigation was undertaken into the gravedigger's function. A mail survey and personal interviews were conducted, which focused on the psychological dimensions of the gravedigger in relation to his job. Of concern were the ways in which he views his job's positive and negative characteristics and the degree to which he is affected by the daily encountered sadness of his job. The findings show that several issues are of concern to the gravedigger; the sadness of his job is multi-faceted; its intensity varies and is managed accordingly. Results indicate that the gravedigger who emerges from this study's profile and the gravedigger of popular myth are incongruous