Michelle Chang, Fulbright student
Michelle Chang is a visiting student under the U.S.-Norway Fulbright Research Award
Michelle received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Stanford University in 2020, and she is now supported as a visiting researcher under the U.S.-Norway Fulbright Research Award.
In western culture, death is deemed as universally anxiety-provoking, and psychological frameworks and questionnaires that quantify these beliefs and their negative impact are limited to this narrative. These frameworks often neglect the broader spectrum of approaches that people may have about death and the cultural diversity within these approaches.
Michelle’s project will build upon a construct that she developed and validated in the U.S., the Death Mindsets Measure (DMM). The DMM identifies core associations people have about the nature and workings of death. One such mindset is that “death-is-life-affirming,” which holds that death can inform a meaningful life. Norway is an excellent country to continue researching mindsets about death because of the country’s unique collective grieving practices that facilitate its engagement with death.
In partnership with Dr. Jens Thimm, the project will cross-culturally adapt and validate the DMM for a Norwegian sample in order to understand 1) what mindsets about death are endorsed within Norway, and 2) whether Norwegian mindsets about death relate to important outcomes in psychological wellbeing. The adapted Norwegian DMM will hopefully contribute to more diverse, culturally-relevant theoretical frameworks on how people view death beyond the dominant conceptualization of death anxiety. Moreover, the measure will be available for use in future research, such as examining whether mindsets about death relate to heterogeneous trajectories of bereavement.