University of Padua (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 4718-4728
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
We are carrying out a piece of qualitative research with 1570 students from the University of Padua, whose ages range from 18 to 38 years old (mean average of 22,11; std. 2,508). Among the participants 580 are males (37%) and 990 females (63 %). The Faculties which they are registered in are either scientific (48,5 %) or humanistic (41,3 %). The Faculty of Psychology (10,2%) is considered in the middle of two categories. In particular the Faculties of Medicine (11,0%), Engineering (13,0%), Mathematic Physic and Naturalistic Sciences (12,8%), Pharmacy (11,7%) belong to the first group; while the Faculties of Literature and Philosophy (13,1%), Science of Training (17,6%), Law (10,6%) belong to the other one.
The theoretical background of this survey is supported by Severino’s philosophical framework and Terror Management Theory (Solomon, Greenberg, Pyszczynski, 1991). From their research we can infer that the fear of death is related to the idea of annihilation. In addition we can deduce that the deviant behaviour of many youths and their tendency to protect themselves within the parental home is connected to the avoidance of anxious thinking about death.
Mikulincer e Florian (1998) have analysed the relationship between attachment style and terror management of death and they have discovered that secure people are able to transcend the anxiety of death on a symbolic level; anxious people are invaded by fear and avoidant ones, although they are able to dismiss anxiety, aren’t able to elaborate it deeply.
We intend to discover how the attachment style of undergraduates affects their attitude towards death, their living condition, their personal, spiritual and religious beliefs (SRPB), their civic and moral disengagement (CMD) and, finally, their happiness (SHS). The data has been gathered with the WHO QOL SRPB (2002), the Relationship Scales Questionnaire (Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994), the subjective happiness scale (Lyubomirsky e Lepper, 1997), a questionnaire which scores the civic and moral disengagement (Caprara, Bandura, 1996) and 7 questions about the personal representation of death. The quantitative data analysis used the software SPSS, version 17; while we are using the software SPAD for the qualitative one.
From data analysis we can confirm that the difficulty young Italians have in moving away from their parent’s house is connected to attachment style. In fact partial results say that anxious people who fear the loss of a significant other tend to stay close to them, both in a physical and mental way. On the contrary secure students, being more able to deal with detachments, have the courage to meet other people and environments, by developing new beliefs and also a civic responsibility. Furthermore they often accept the support offered by spirituality and religion. On the other hand avoidant people maintain their independency, through strong personal beliefs, by refusing other people and the help of other cultural frameworks, like religion. Therefore they aren’t able to transcend, on a deep level, death’s anxiety.
We aim to promote the addition of some death education seminars to normal academic curricula, in order to increase awareness of death and the expression of related negative emotions, thereby reducing the psychological stress engendered by the repression of these feelings (Pyszczynski et al., 1993). That reduction could allow students to be more happy and autonomous, in a mental and physical sense.
attachment style, death s representation, happiness.