Psychology Student Receives 2020-21 Lois Roth Award

The Lois Roth Endowment has selected Michelle Chang to receive project support for her studies of Norwegian mindsets about death. This award is given annually to a Fulbright student in Norway for projects in the humanities, social sciences, or visual and performing arts. The endowment that sponsors the award was created to honor the life and work of its namesake, Lois Wersba Roth. Roth was a U.S. diplomat who had a passion for cultural diplomacy, and awards are given to Fulbright students in several countries to which she was particularly attached.

2020-21 recipient Michelle Chang is interested in mindsets about death, how they relate to collective grieving and grief socialization practices, and what effects these have on the health and well-being of the bereaved. Having developed a mindset measure for how people in the U.S. view death, and having facilitated numerous discussions on the topic, Chang came to Norway to carry out a cross-cultural comparison. The University of Bergen’s Center for Crisis Psychology was an attractive host because it specializes in bereavement and because it integrates research, clinical practice, and dissemination of trainings.

In addition to funding use of a software package that will strengthen Chang’s statistical analyses, the Lois Roth award will make it possible for Chang to extend her research through a qualitative pilot study. Discussions with two focus groups of bereaved Norwegians will add nuance and depth to the quantitative death mindset measurement data Chang has been collecting. It will also contribute to death mindset training materials that she and her hosts are developing for practitioners and psychology students.