The effects of confronting one’s own finitude on well-being (NRW Graduate School GROW)

Gerontological research on Well-Beeing (GROW II)

German Version

Project management: Helena Kukla (NRW Graduate School GROW, University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Raymond Voltz (Department of Palliative Medicine, University Hospital Cologne), Prof. Dr. Frank Schulz-Nieswandt (Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Cologne)
Contact: Helena Kukla (NRW Graduate School GROW, University of Cologne)
Duration: 02/2019-06/2022
Funding: The Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

Project Description

The psychosocial and spiritual care plays an important role in the end-of-life care in order to maintain or increase well-being. Different approaches, such as psycho-social interventions, educational courses or end-of-life conversations, are discussed as possible determinants of subjective well-being. However, the findings remain inconsistent.

Research questions: The overarching question of this dissertation project is: What are the effects of being confronted with one’s own finitude? To answer this question, the project the following research questions of the three sub-projects will be answered:

  1. What is known about the effects of the confrontation with one’s own finitude in old age and terminally ill people?
  2. What are the experiences, preferences and wishes concerning the confrontation of one´s own finitude within the end-of-life care?
  3. Does planning the end-of-life have an impact on the attitudes towards death and dying in very old age?

Methods: To answer the first question, (1) a mixed-method systematic literature review will be carried out, the results will be summarized narratively. This offers a theoretical basis for (2) the semi-structured interviews with people aged 80 and over, people with life-limiting illnesses and young adults. The transcripts will be analyzed thematically. In addition, (3) a statistical based analysis of the representative NRW 80+ data set will be conducted.