The meaning that young Israeli adults ascribe to the least undesirable death

Ronit D. Leichtentritt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The study examines descriptions by 14 Israeli young adults of the least undesirable death. The transcripts of essays and interviews were analyzed by phenomenological methods to determine themes and interpret their synthesis into the essence of the phenomenon. The least undesirable death was perceived as multi-dimensional, based on 4 themes: the time, manner, and place in which death occurs, and the importance of death being beneficial to others. These themes represent 2 salient ideologies in Israeli society: autonomy of the individual (including control over his/her own life and communitarian philosophy that calls for emphasis of the common good. These 2 forces, which pull in opposite directions, were captured in the essence of the phenomenon: least undesirable for self versus least undesirable for others. The results of this study call researchers and practitioners in the field of death and dying to move beyond the common uni-dimensional perception of a "good death" and to recognize that this is a multi-layered phenomenon in which the perspectives of self (autonomy) and others (communitarianism) do not necessarily mesh.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-759
Number of pages27
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2004


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