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Korean J General Edu > Volume 14(5); 2020 > Article
Korean Journal of General Education 2020;14(5):189-200.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.46392/kjge.2020.14.5.189    Published online October 31, 2020.
A Study on the Perceptions of Thanatology (Death Studies) for University Public Education to Help Students Reflect on Life and Death
Jae Kyung Kim1, Byeongsik Lim2
1Professor, Pai Chai University
2President, Korea Thanatology Association
삶과 죽음을 성찰하는 싸나톨로지(죽음학)의 대학 공교육을 위한 인식조사
김재경1, 임병식2
1제1저자, 배재대학교 교수
2교신저자, 한국싸나톨로지협회 이사장
Correspondence:  Byeongsik Lim,
Email: drlimroh@daum.net
Received: 20 September 2020   • Revised: 20 October 2020   • Accepted: 22 October 2020
The purpose of this study was to examine the current status and perceptions of Thanatology (the study of death), and to investigate the perceptions of certain Thanatology subjects for public education at the college level. A questionnaire survey and an in-depth interview were conducted using the following method: 182 and 164 Korean college students were randomly assigned to two groups: a “direct” question group (182) and an “indirect” (164) question group. The questionnaire included the following questions: ① I have thought about death, ② I think death is near, ③ I have experienced loss or pain, ④ I want to comfort someone who has suffered loss or pain, ⑤ Is there a lecture on loss or death? Also, the questionnaire asked students whether they believed that such a lecture was necessary. The in-depth interview questions read as follows: “Do you think it is necessary to have a lecture on the psychology of life and death? What do you think is the reason for this?” As a result, more than half of the respondents answered that they think about death or feel that death is near. In addition, we found that the students deemed the necessity for such a lecture as ‘high’, and that more than half responded that lectures on loss and death were necessary. During the in-depth interviews, there were many positive answers, but also some negative ones, and overall the study illustrated the high necessity for lectures on Thanatology. In conclusion, we were able to determine that college students felt the necessity for receiving at least some rudimentary level of death education through the study of Thanatology for public education.
Key Words: Thanatology (death studies), death education, reflection of death and life, public education, learner recognition


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