Thanatology - the Study of Death - a Young, But Growing Field of Research

Sep 27, 2012

This week on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci has been exploring issues surrounding death and dying. While death is as old as time itself, the study of it is considerably younger. The relatively new and growing field of thanatology - that is, the study of death, from the Greek word "thanatos" - extends beyond just the medical aspects to dying. Rather, it crosses boundaries through interdisciplinary fields. And as technologies in medicine and society advance, so does the research.

How does the internet change how we experience and cope with death and grief?

Among those researching death and dying in the 21st century is Dr. Illene Cupit. She's a professor of Human Development at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and the co-editor of Dying, Death and Grief in an Online Universe. She's also the president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, a professional organization for researchers and academics that was originally started in 1976.

Cupit tells Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci more about how this field of study has developed. She is researching college student grief, internet use in the study of death and dying, and the effects of bereavement camps for children. She's also the founder and director of Camp Lloyd, a summer day camp for grieving children - we'll hear more about this camp later in the series.