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Giving death a second glance: an investigation of existential awareness




Hunter, Isaac, author
Dik, Bryan, advisor
Banning, James, committee member
Bloom, Larry, committee member
Harman, Jennifer, committee member

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The promotion of awareness is arguably one of the central features of counseling. Research on existential awareness has produced mixed results with regard to how people react when experiencing such awareness. Differences in outcome are seemingly based on the level of awareness achieved and on how deeply that awareness resonated. This existential awareness is sometimes perceived as a threat and therefore something people try to defend against. At deeper, more personal levels, this awareness appears to often add meaning and value to the experience of living. Aside from near death experience and post traumatic growth research, few studies have examined this deeper level of awareness in detail. The present study attempted to promote this deeper level of awareness by having participants imagine and reflect on a scenario describing one's last moments before impending death. The present study used qualitative and quantitative analysis to examine: if this intervention was effective, if individual characteristics had an influence on this intervention's effectiveness, and the duration of potential intervention outcomes over time. Qualitative results suggest that the intervention was effective in getting participants to engage in reflection on their own lives. However, significant results were not obtained through the quantitative measures that were employed to examine moderators and intervention impact over time.


2012 Fall.
Includes bibliographical references.

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