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Death in the lives of older blacks: a qualitative assessment of death in the lives of fifteen older people in syracuse, new york.

Author: ROBERT LEE COSBY, JR.; Syracuse University.
Dissertation: Ph. D. SYRACUSE University 1987
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : English
Publication:Dissertation Abstracts International, 49-05A.
Summary:
Little has been revealed or documented on the subject of death and dying as it applies to Black Americans. "Death in the Lives of Fifteen Older Black People in Syracuse, New York" addresses this subject by exploring ways of coping and the survivor behaviors of persons in the Black community.
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Material Type: Thesis/dissertation
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: ROBERT LEE COSBY, JR.; Syracuse University.
OCLC Number: 81085251
Notes: Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 49-05, Section: A, page: 1244.
Description: 241 pages

Abstract:

Little has been revealed or documented on the subject of death and dying as it applies to Black Americans. "Death in the Lives of Fifteen Older Black People in Syracuse, New York" addresses this subject by exploring ways of coping and the survivor behaviors of persons in the Black community.

The study focuses on people's life experiences and incorporates a qualitative methodology to record the life histories of the subject group of fifteen older Black people, ranging in age from sixty to ninety years (hereinafter known as the Cosby Syracuse Study (CSS)).

Major findings included: the Black Experience comprises many experiences which contribute to diverse attitudes toward death; there is a strong reliance on the Black Church at times of death; racial pride was found to be important to an older person's self image; and, the extended family and fictive kin continue to play significant roles throughout an individual's lifetime.

The group was interviewed between September and December 1981. The semi-structured, in-person interviews explored such areas as family history, significant personal relationships and perspectives on death and dying.

The study also explored each Black person's feelings about death and his/her conceptual frame of reference, as revealed through the interview information.

This study contributes significantly to both contemporary gerontological and Black cultural literature.

Chapter I explores the concept and uniqueness of Black Experiences which include death and dying.

Chapter II presents a historical perspective of racial oppression, beginning with slavery in the United States. The effects of racial oppression on Blacks' self-image and how that contributes to their view of death is also examined.

Chapter III highlights the universal aspects of human nature which supercede racial differences. Reactions to death and their related experiences are explored.

Chapter IV presents a typology for understanding the multiple meanings associated with death. Cultural differences are highlighted.

Chapter V examines in detail the specific qualitative methodology utilized in the study. Quantitative and qualitative methods are highlighted.

Chapter VI presents the study's findings within the context of survival behaviors. Profiles of each interviewee serve as the chapter's introductory materials.

The final chapter summarizes the major findings. Recommendations for further research and implications for public policy are then offered.

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