All societies have their own customs and beliefs surrounding death. In the West, traditional ways of mourning are disappearing, and although Western science has had a major impact on how people die, it has taught us little about the way to die or to grieve. Many whose work brings them into contact with the dying and the bereaved from Western and other cultures are at a loss to know how to offer appropriate and sensitive support.

Death and Bereavement Across Cultures 2nd Edition is a handbook which meets the needs of doctors,  nurses, social workers, hospital  chaplains, counsellors and volunteers caring for patients with life-threatening illness and their families before and after bereavement. It is a practical guide explaining the religious and other differences commonly met with in multi-cultural societies when someone is dying or bereaved. In doing so readers may be surprised to find how much we can learn from other cultures about our own attitudes and assumptions about death. Written by international experts in the field the book:

Describes the rituals and beliefs of major world religions;

Explains their psychological and historical context;

Shows how customs are changed by contact with the West;

Considers the implications for the future

The second edition includes new chapters that: explore how members of the health care professions perform roles formerly conducted by priests and shamans can cross the cultural gaps between different cultures and religions; consider the relevance of attitudes and assumptions about death for our understanding of religious and nationalist extremism and its consequences; discuss the Buddhist, Islamic and Christian ways of death.

Death raises questions which science cannot answer. Whatever our personal beliefs we can all gain from learning how others view these ultimate problems. This book explores the richness of mourning traditions around the world with the aim of increasing the sensitivity and understanding which we all bring to the issue of death and bereavement.

part I|20 pages

A conceptual framework

chapter 1|6 pages


ByColin Murray Parkes, Pittu Laungani, Bill Young

chapter 2|12 pages

Culture and religion

ByColin Murray Parkes, Pittu Laungani, Bill Young

part II|128 pages

Major world systems of belief and ritual

chapter 3|19 pages

Grief in small scale societies

ByPaul C. Rosenblatt

chapter 4|19 pages

Death in a Hindu family

ByPittu Laungani, Ann Laungani

chapter 5|15 pages

The Buddhist way of death

ByMargaret Gouin

chapter 6|18 pages

Jewish views and customs on death

ByEllen Levine

chapter 7|16 pages


Beliefs and practices about death and bereavement
ByPeter C. Jupp

chapter 8|23 pages

The Islamic way of death and dying

Homeward bound
ByWaseem Alladin

chapter 9|16 pages


ByTony Walter

part III|54 pages

Practical implications and conclusions

chapter 10|15 pages

Childhood death and bereavement across cultures

ByDanai Papadatou

chapter 11|12 pages

Help for the dying and the bereaved

ByColin Murray Parkes

chapter 12|14 pages

Conclusions I

Implications for practice and policy
ByPittu Laungani, Colin Murray Parkes, Bill Young

chapter 13|11 pages

Conclusions II

Attachments and losses in cross-cultural perspective
ByColin Murray Parkes