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Exploring the interface between religion and contact with the dead among older Mexican Americans

Publication Abstract

Krause, Neal, and E. Bastida. 2009. "Exploring the interface between religion and contact with the dead among older Mexican Americans." Review of Religious Research, 51(1): 5-20.

The purpose of the current study is to examine the relationship between religion and post death contact among older Mexican Americans. Four major themes emerged from 52 in-depth interviews that were conducted with older Mexican Americans residing in Texas. First, many older study participants told us they had contact with the dead, but others indicated this was not possible. Second, the form in which contact with the dead was made varied greatly. Some older Mexican Americans reported they had visual contact with the dead while others said they only made contact with the dead through dreams. Third, although some older Mexican American study participants believed that it was in the best interests of the dead to contact the living, others felt the dead should instead be in Heaven with God. Fourth, the participants in our study reported that having contact with the dead provides a number of important social and psychological benefits. In the process of discussing these themes, an emphasis is placed on how beliefs and experiences with the dead interface with religion. In addition, we also explore how post death contact may be associated with health and well-being in late life.

PMCID: PMC3051171. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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