Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version

May 2008


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Human Sciences (Gerontology). Under the Supervision of Professor James A. Thorson
Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2008
Copyright © 2008 Larry Cameron Menyweather-Woods. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Major sociological theories of violent crime have successfully linked criminal activity with socioeconomic status. The linkage of socioeconomic conditions to homicides has led to the theory that the primary determinant of violent crimes lies within a group’s value system and failure to integrate into the dominant culture’s value system crime only increases.

This study investigated whether world view, racial socialization and religion influence the death anxiety and death attitude of Blackamerican men ages 19-35 and 65 and older. If relationship existed, there would be an implied opportunity for building new strategies to decrease the incidence of homicides in the Blackamerican community. If there is no significant difference in the relationship with these variables then there will be less evidence upon which to build strategies to decrease the incidence of homicides in Blackamerican community based on this relationship.

The hypothesis concerning the influence of racial socialization, world view, and religion, all were significant in predicting the relationship with the dependent variables. The findings of this study suggest a great potential for the development of a strategy to address the concerns of reducing the incidence of homicides in the Blackamerican community. Although the relationships were not large they were shown to be significant. Death anxiety and Death Attitude can be predicted to somewhat of surety by being keenly conscientious of selected environmental factors impacting Blackamerican perspectives on life and death rising from their world view, racial socialization and religious awareness. The results of this study also affirmed that the items selected by the factorial analysis can be assessed with an acceptable degree of reliability and validity.

The second hypothesis investigated whether the instrument of measurement created by the investigator used in the study had an acceptable degree of reliability and validity. Although only a Pilot Study, this analysis suggest that the Menyweather-Woods Death Anxiety Research Survey (MWDARS) may potentially be a useful instrument to measure responses from differing ethnic age groups about death beliefs.

Advisor: James A. Thorson

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