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Encountering the dead body: experiences of medical students in their anatomy and pathology training
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Social Medicine.
1997 (English)In: Omega, ISSN 0030-2228, Vol. 35, no 2, 173-191 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With the aim to deepen the understanding of reactions to procedures involving the dead body, medical students were interviewed after their anatomy and pathology training. The intensity of their reactions was estimated, and their attitudes toward having anatomic dissection, autopsy, and organ taking performed on themselves were explored. In the qualitative analysis, the material was integrated into themes and interpreted in terms of why the students reacted the way they did. Five themes emerged: 1) unlimited empathy, 2) the horrifying dead, 3) contra-instinctivity, 4) the superstructure of reverence, 5) and philosophy of life. They emanate from socio-cultural, psychological, and biological components, intertwined in an intricate interplay. Thus, the students' encounter with a cadaver became loaded because of these deeply rooted emotions. However, some of these reactions are of transient character, fading when more cognitively based processes start working. We must expect that the public's attitudes are influenced by the same components.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1997. Vol. 35, no 2, 173-191 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-53900OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-53900DiVA: diva2:81809
Available from: 2008-10-17 Created: 2008-10-17 Last updated: 2010-06-16Bibliographically approved

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