This book is a brief but comprehensive survey of research, writings, and professional practices concerned with death and dying. It is interdisciplinary and eclectic--medical, psychological, religious, philosophical, artistic, demographics, bereavement, and widowhood are all considered--but with an emphasis on psychological aspects. A variety of viewpoints and research findings on topics subsumed under "thanatology" receive thorough consideration. Questions, activities, and projects at the end of each chapter enhance reflection and personalize the material. This fourth edition features material on: * moral issues and court cases concerned with abortion and euthanasia; * the widespread problem of AIDS and other deadly diseases; * the tragedies occasioned by epidemics, starvation, and war; and * the resumption of capital punishment in many states. The book's enhanced multicultural tone reflects the increased economic, social, and physical interdependency among the nations of the world. Topics receiving increased attention in the fourth edition are: terror management; attitudes and practices concerning death; cross-cultural concepts of afterlife; gallows humor, out-of-body experiences; spiritualism; mass suicide; pet and romantic death; euthanasia; right to die; postbereavement depression; firearm deaths in children; children's understanding of death; child, adolescent, adult, and physician-assisted suicide; religious customs and death; confronting death; legal issues in death, dying and bereavement; death education; death music; creativity and death; longevity; broken heart phenomenon; beliefs in life after death; new definitions of death; children's acceptance of a parent's death; terminal illness; and the politics of death and dying.