Higher Education

Understanding Dying, Death, and Bereavement, 7th Edition

  • Michael R. Leming St. Olaf College
  • George E. Dickinson College of Charleston
  • ISBN-10: 0495810185  |  ISBN-13: 9780495810186
  • 592 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2002, 1998
  • © 2011 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $216.00
  • Newer Edition Available
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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.

Features and Benefits

  • 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.

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.

What's New

  • 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. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

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.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Michael R. Leming

Michael R. Leming is professor emeritus of sociology and anthropology at St. Olaf College in Minnesota and co-director of the college’s Spring Semester in Thailand program. He holds degrees from Westmont College (B.A.), Marquette University (M.A.), and the University of Utah (Ph.D.). He has completed additional graduate study at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Leming was the founder and former director of the St. Olaf College Social Research Center, a former member of the board of directors of the Minnesota Coalition of Terminal Care and the Northfield AIDS Response, and has served as a hospice educator, volunteer, and grief counselor. He is the author of numerous articles on social thanatology and family issues and has taught courses on death and dying for over 35 years.

George E. Dickinson

George E. Dickinson is professor of sociology at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He holds degrees from Baylor University (B.A. in biology and M.A. in sociology) and Louisiana State University (Ph.D. in sociology). He has completed postdoctoral studies in gerontology at Pennsylvania State University, in thanatology at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine, and in medical sociology at the University of Connecticut. He was 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. He has published over 90 articles in numerous professional journals.