Life at the end of life: Beliefs about individual life after death and "good death" models - A qualitative study

Franco Toscani, Claudia Borreani, Paolo Boeri, Guido Miccinesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Different ideas of "good death" may influence the effectiveness of end-of-life care in patients with different ethos. This study aimed to identify the influence of believing in individual life after death on "good death" models. Methods: Semi structured-interview to 8 persons, 4 believers and 4 non-believers in individual life after death from the general Italian population. Analysis of the transcribed text according to the method suggested by Mc Cracken. Results: The analysis has shown a diverse and coherent conceptualization of death according to whether the subjects believe or not in individual life after death. Believers, for whom death marks the passage to a new dimension, prefer to be unaware of dying, while non-believers, for whom death is the end of the individual, prefer to be conscious until the very end of life. However some important aspects in common have been identified, i.e. having close people nearby, receiving assistance from experts, or the preference for a soft atmosphere around the dying person. Conclusion: There are aspects in common and aspects in contrast between believers and non-believers in individual life after death: while sharing many aspects of what a "good death" ought to be, they have opposite stands on being aware of dying. A plurality of models should be foreseen, accepting, in this case, their practical and theoretical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
JournalHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2003


  • Awareness
  • End of life
  • Good death
  • Life after death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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