Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joe Davis

Second Advisor

Jeannette Seaberry

Third Advisor

James C. Thorson


This thesis examines the attitudes toward death and dying held by volunteers in the Senior Companion Program as compared with those in the Foster Grandparent Program. These programs represent two distinct environments, since volunteers in the former program interact only with other senior citizens while those in the latter program interact with children. In recent years volunteerism has been studied extensively relative to the positive effects that volunteer activities have on those performing them. However, there is a lack of research on the effects of the particular surroundings in which the volunteers operate. The comparison of two groups of volunteers who are approaching the final years, with one group serving clients who are even nearer the end of their lives, and the other group serving clients who are at the beginning of their lives, provides a singular opportunity to investigate attitudes relative to death and dying; in short: do volunteers who serve the elderly clients with physical ailments and who, in some cases, even watch their clients wither away toward death view death differently than those volunteers who interact with young and healthy children?

Included in

Counseling Commons