What is Thanatology?
Updated: Mar 4
Death, Dying, Bereavement, and Loss
Thanatology is the academic or scientific study of death, dying, bereavement, and loss. It is an interdisciplinary field of study that draws from many different subject areas including psychology, sociology, theology, philosophy, biology, forensic science, archaeology, anthropology, history, and law. Thanatologists work in academia, medicine, nursing, counseling, social work, veterinary science, faith-based organizations, religious institutions, the funeral industry, and more.
Thanatology investigates such phenomena as the circumstances surrounding a person's death, the bodily changes that occur pre and post-mortem, all aspects of bereavement, the historical and multicultural attitudes towards death involving ritual and memorialization, and the possibility of life after life. It prepares students to offer hope and healing to individuals, families, and communities with grief, mourning, and end-of-life issues.
Thanatology, however, is not limited to the study of death and dying. Many of life’s transitions – even those that are expected – can elicit a grief response. Some examples of non-death losses include illness, injury, aging, retirement, unemployment, divorce, breakups, and relocation. Thanatology allows us to develop an understanding of the grief reaction associated with these kinds of losses as well.
What is Thanatology? Source: Wix Media