Personal identity is often dictated by the social roles a person fulfills (e.g., mother, son, partner, employee, etc.) and these social roles are defined by the greater family unit and surrounding social environments. Monumental events, such as death, often change a person’s social
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Personal identity is often dictated by the social roles a person fulfills (e.g., mother, son, partner, employee, etc.) and these social roles are defined by the greater family unit and surrounding social environments. Monumental events, such as death, often change a person’s social roles and demand a reorganization of the family unit. To provide comprehensive end-of-life care, human services professionals become an integral piece of care provisions as they are trained in serving the mothers, fathers, and children of the world, more so than treating the biological aspects of illness. It is for this reason that understanding the impacts of education on social science majors is important. To date, research on the effects of end-of-life education has largely focused on the negative affect among those in healthcare-related programs, leaving gaps in the literature surrounding the impacts, both negative and positive, of death education on future human services professionals. The current study explores pre–post semester changes in negative and positive affect among social science students (n
= 92) enrolled in courses focused on end-of-life compared to those in an aging and human services-focused courses. Using paired and individual samples t
-tests, within- and between-group changes were explored. Students in the experimental group reported lower death anxiety scores post-semester (M
= 4.34, 95% CI [2.60, 6.08], t
(74) = 4.97, p
< 0.05), but this was not the case for the control group. Between group differences revealed that students in the experimental group displayed a greater decrease in fear of others dying (x
= 4.08, sd
= 6.23) than those in the control group (x
= 1.24, sd
= 0.95) and they reported larger increases in subjective happiness by an average of 0.61 points (sd
= 2.42) when compared to those in the control group who reported an average increase of 0.10 points (sd
= 2.45). Findings are discussed in terms of within- and between-group differences and suggestions for future research are provided.