Social Representations of Death: from research to intervention in health humanisation


  • Cristina Duarte Centro de Administração e Políticas Públicas, Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade de Lisboa, Rua Almerindo Lessa, 1300-663, Lisboa, Portugal
  • Deolinda Leão Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade de Lisboa
  • Graça Duarte Unidade de Recursos Assistenciais Partilhados do ACES Baixo Tâmega-Tâmega I



social representations, death, humanization, palliative care


In palliative care, the topic of death and dying is transversal to life, also constituting a taboo topic. The relationship that each civilisation and each culture establishes with death reflects how it relates to life. Social representations are a form of practical knowledge that contributes to a common reality in a community. The present study was developed within the scope of a Community of Practice in Palliative Care at the Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lisbon, with the aim of understanding the social representations of death in the Portuguese population, starting from the translation and adaptation of the revised version of the Scale for Assessment of the Profile of Attitudes about Death (EAPAM), for the population residing in Portugal, using a quantitative and qualitative methodology. Of the 736 responses received, it is important to highlight that it is essential to reflect and share on this topic, either to give a voice to everyone who cares at the end of life and to ensure that all felt needs are heard at a humanisation of end-of-life care. We conclude that the topic of death and dying requires more in-depth studies and literacy programs on this topic.