UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Meyers Primary Care Institute; Division of Research and Evaluation

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; *Attitude of Health Personnel; Cohort Studies; *Death; Emotions; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Questionnaires; Spirituality


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine


BACKGROUND: The concept of a good death is central to end-of-life care research. Despite its importance and the high interest in the topic, there are few measures currently available for use in clinical research.

PURPOSE: The present work describes the development and testing of a set of items intended to measure the importance of several components posited to be critical to the concept of a good death. It is intended for use with health care providers and lay people in the context of end-of-life care research and education.

POPULATION: Four cohorts (n = 596) were recruited to participate, representing two helping profession disciplines, nonhelping professionals, and a range of ages, specifically: (1) undergraduate medical students; (2) master's degree students in nursing; (3) graduate students from the life sciences; and (4) practicing hospice nurses.

METHODS: Participants completed self-report questionnaires at baseline and retest. Psychometric analyses included item frequency distributions, factor analysis, alpha reliability, intraclass correlation, and measures of association.

RESULTS: The new Concept of a Good Death measure demonstrated good item frequency distributions, acceptable internal consistency reliability, and test-retest stability. Its factor structure revealed that three distinct domains are measured, reflecting the psychosocial/spiritual, physical, and clinical aspects of a good death. An examination of patterns of correlations showed differential associations with death anxiety, spiritual beliefs and practices, anxious mood, and sociodemographic characteristics.

CONCLUSIONS: The new Concept of a Good Death instrument appears to measure three distinct factors which people consider important to a Good Death. Ratings of the importance of these factors are reliable and valid. The instrument has the advantage of being a brief, self-report index for use in end-of-life care research.

DOI of Published Version



J Palliat Med. 2003 Aug;6(4):575-84. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of palliative medicine

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID