Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Understanding Dying, Death, and Bereavement, 7th Edition

  • Michael R. Leming
  • George E. Dickinson
  • ISBN-10: 0495810185
  • ISBN-13: 9780495810186
  • 592 Pages | Hardcover
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2002, 1998
  • COPYRIGHT: 2011 Published
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About the Product

Using a social-psychological approach, this edition remains solidly grounded in theory and research, but places greater emphasis on the individual and coping with death and dying. These two well-known authors and researchers integrate stimulating personal accounts throughout the text, and apply concepts to specific examples that deal with cross cultural perspectives and the practical matters of death and dying.


  • The authors seek to address the following in their text: Sensitize students to the subject of dying, death and bereavement; Aid students in adjusting to the death of a significant other; Help individuals examine their own feelings and reactions to death and grieving; Make readers aware of different cultural groups’ death and bereavement customs.

  • Over 60 years of combined experience of teaching and researching the topic result in practical advice, personal anecdotes, prose, and cross-cultural examples of death practices and beliefs presented to readers.

  • The text draws from the disciplines of cultural anthropology, psychology, philosophy, religion and history.

  • Chapter summary statements, discussion questions and suggested readings encourage individual study, and serve as review aids to outline the important points of each chapter.

About the Author

Michael R. Leming

Michael R. Leming, a professor emeritus of sociology and anthropology at St. Olaf College in Minnesota (USA), taught courses on death and dying for over 35 years. For nearly 20 years, he also directed the Spring Semester in Thailand, a program affiliated with Chiang Mai University. In addition to his B.A. from Westmont College, M.A. from Marquette University and Ph.D. from the University of Utah, he has done graduate study at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Dr. Leming is co-editor (with George E. Dickinson) of ANNUAL EDITIONS: DYING, DEATH AND BEREAVEMENT, 15th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2017) and co-author of UNDERSTANDING FAMILIES: DIVERSITY, CONTINUITY, AND CHANGE (Allyn & Bacon, 1990; Harcourt Brace, 1995). He is also co-editor (with Raymond DeVries and Brendan Furnish) of THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE: A VALUE-COMMITTED INTRODUCTION (Zondervan, 1989; Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2009). In 1995 Dr. Leming produced the documentary film "The Karen of Musikhee: Rabbits in the Mouth of the Crocodile". His most recent film project was a documentary on the Karen produced by the BBC, for which he was the chief research consultant. The founder and former director of the St. Olaf College Social Research Center, Dr. Leming is a former member of the board of directors of the Minnesota Coalition on Terminal Care and the Northfield AIDS Response, and he has served as a hospice educator, volunteer and grief counselor. During Minnesota’s coldest months, he lives in Thailand.

George E. Dickinson

George E. Dickinson, a professor of sociology at the College of Charleston, South Carolina (USA), has been teaching courses on death and dying for over 40 years and has been actively involved as a hospice educator. Prior to coming to the College of Charleston in 1985, he taught in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Kentucky. In addition to B.A. and M.A. degrees from Baylor University and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, he completed postdoctoral studies in gerontology at Pennsylvania State University, thanatology at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine and medical sociology at the University of Connecticut. He was a visiting research fellow in palliative medicine at the University of Sheffield's School of Medicine in England in 1999, the International Observatory on End of Life Care in the Institute for Health Research at Lancaster University in England in 2006 and the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science’s Department of Animal Behavior and Welfare in England in 2013. Dr. Dickinson has published approximately 100 articles in professional journals, primarily on end-of-life issues, and has co-authored other books with Michael Leming, as noted above. Additionally, with Brenda Sanders, he published AGING IN THE FAMILY (Taylor & Francis Publishers, 2019). Dr. Dickinson serves on the international editorial board of MORTALITY (UK) and on the editorial review board of the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HOSPICE & PALLIATIVE MEDICINE (US). His honors include the 2003 and 2008 South Carolina Governor’s Distinguished Professor Awards and the 2009 Death Educator Award from the Association of Death Education and Counseling. From the College of Charleston, he received the 2002 Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Award and the 2008 Distinguished Research Award, and in 2018 he was the first recipient of the REACH program's Professor Recognition Award.

Table of Contents

1. Studying Dying, Death, and Bereavement.
2. The American Experience of Death.
3. Growing Up with Death.
4. Perspectives on Death and Life After Death.
5. The Dying Process.
6. Living with Dying.
7. Dying in the American Health-Care System.
8. Biomedical Issues and Euthanasia.
9. Suicide.
10. Diversity in Death Rituals.
11. The Business of Dying.
12. The Legal Aspects of Dying.
13. Coping with Loss.
14. Grieving Throughout the Life Cycle.

New to this edition

  • Boxed inserts have been both added and removed in the chapters but have maintained the four box categories: (1) Practical Matters boxes offer practical advice; (2) Listening to the Voices boxes consist of excerpted material from people writing about their own experiences with dying and death; (3) Words of Wisdom boxes contain excerpted materials--poems, literature, and other words of wisdom; and (4) Death Across Cultures boxes examine cross-cultural examples of death practices and beliefs.
  • Some new boxes include the latent function of a funeral, a Vietnam veteran who keeps on giving though he is dying, suicide by a young couple in the UK following the death of their 5-year-old boy, alternative medicines, celebrities make a living after death, trusts and wills, cemeteries as tourist attractions, steps toward cancer prevention, Piaget’s cognitive stages of development, and Erikson’s developmental stages.
  • New material in the seventh edition includes updates of statistical material through out the text and new information on various topics since the 2007 edition. Updates are found on the topic of terrorism in various chapters.
  • Firsthand accounts regarding burial customs in Thailand are presented as well as recent research on veterinarians and end-of-life issues, roadside memorial policies of the 50 states in the US, child life specialist programs in the US on end-of-life issues, UK nursing school emphasis on end-of-life issues, and US dental schools and dentists and end-of-life issues.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

eBank Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 0495814512 | ISBN-13: 9780495814511)

By Michael Leming of St. Olaf College and George Dickinson of the College of Charleston. Prepare for class more quickly and effectively with such resources as chapter outlines, lecture suggestions, and sample syllabi from the main text authors. Also, a Test Bank with 25-30 true/false questions and 25-30 multiple choice questions, all with answers, as well as 10-15 essay questions saves you time creating tests. New Features: New True/False questions. New multiple choice questions. New essay questions.