Psychologists’ knowledge and attitudes towards near-death experiences: Has this changed after nearly 20 years?
Originally Published In
Journal of Near-Death Studies
We conducted a comparison and extension of Walker and Russell’s (1989) study of psychologists’ knowledge of and attitudes about near-death experiences (NDEs). We used their Near-Death Phenomena Knowledge and Attitudes Questionnaire (NDPKAQ), consisting of one knowledge scale and two attitude scales, to explore possible changes over time. We also used the Self Expansiveness Level Form—Transpersonal Scale (SELF-TS; Friedman, 1983) to explore the relationship of transpersonal self-concept with knowledge of and attitudes about NDEs. We randomly surveyed 84 psychologists listed in the Washington state National Register and obtained 18 completed responses (61% male, 39% female; mean age 60 years; ethnicity unknown). The comparison of our NDPKAQ data with Walker and Russell’s Illinois psychologists’ data suggests psychologists’ knowledge and attitudes about NDEs have remained unchanged over the past two decades (p > .05). Two of the three NDPKAQ scale scores correlated significantly with the SELF-TS scores (p = .03, .05), suggesting a positive relationship between transpersonal self-concept and knowledge of and attitudes towards NDEs. We discuss limitations of our results and implications of our findings for professional education and training on NDEs.