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Social distance and the dying


To determine the relative degree of avoidance elicited by the dying, a sample of 203 college students were requested to respond to a social distance scale evaluating 14 ethnic and nonethnic groups. Male subjects indicated basically less avoidance than female subjects, and ethnic groups (e.g. Negro, Mexican-American) were less avoided than the nonethnic groups (e.g. drug addict, dying person, alcoholic). A brief discussion of the problems of mental health workers in their own dealings with the dying is presented.

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The author wishes to express his thanks to Dr. Robert Kastenbaum, Cushing Hospital, whose encouragement and demands for this paper helped shape its being.

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Kalish, R.A. Social distance and the dying. Community Ment Health J 2, 152–155 (1966).

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  • Public Health
  • Mental Health
  • Ethnic Group
  • College Student
  • Health Worker