Title

Perspectives from a theological workshop using arts and humanities : interventional aids to assist older Christians with death anxiety.

Date of Award

5-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

School

Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how music, songs, dramatic performance and graphic arts could be used as intervention tools to assist older Christians to think and talk about the themes of death and dying without the phenomenon of death anxiety. The study shows that when older Christians are given the opportunities to talk about death and dying they are enabled to prepare for the end of life issues and reduce the level of anxiety for family left behind. Although many of them believed they would have everlasting life in Christ, some expressed more concern about the family and friends they will leave behind. Twenty-seven persons completed both the focus group discussions and the interventions workshop. Twenty-one responded that music and song ranked equally as having the highest impact on their thoughts and feelings about death, dying and death anxiety. Fourteen of the participants noted that dramatic performance had the highest impact and four participants thought that the graphic art had the least impact. The outcome of this study showed that the intervention tools provided a valuable resource for use in a safe space for participants to talk about death and dying without high levels of death anxiety. They used words like comfort, joy, excitement, and peace to express how they felt about the experience in this project.