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Exploring children's understanding of death concepts

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Abstract

This study is an investigation of the effects of death education on children and their understanding of death. The participants of this study were eighty 5- and 6-year-olds who were enrolled in a suburban kindergarten in Korea. To examine the level of children's understanding of death, researchers interviewed each child in both the control and experimental groups. After the interview, researchers provided an intervention (11 educational activities) to the experimental group. No educational intervention was provided to the control group. Researchers re-interviewed children in both groups after the treatment. The overall mean score of the experimental group was significantly higher than that of the control group on all five categories of the death concept: causality, old age, irreversibility, finality, and inevitability. Implications regarding how death education can be approached in early childhood settings are also discussed.

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... However, their capacity to comprehend and explain death is constrained by their ability to grasp abstract concepts and verbalize their thoughts (Stylianou & Zembylas, 2016). Specifically, to help children express their thoughts, researchers have used tools like completing stories (Yang & Chen, 2009), drawing pictures related to death (Bonoti, Leondari, & Mastora, 2011;Yang & Park, 2017), and participating in death education (Lee, Lee, & Moon, 2009). Other studies investigated how children understand death-related concepts through children's picture books and storybooks (Lee, Kim, Choi, & Koo, 2014;Malcom, 2011;Poling & Hupp, 2008). ...
... Another source of ideas about death is death education classes, classroom discussions about grief and grieving, and psychoeducational programs (Corr, 2016;Siegel, Mesgano, & Christ, 1990;Stylianou & Zembylas, 2016). In a study with death education classes death concepts and the dying process were explicitly discussed with children aged 5 to 6 years (Lee et al., 2009). Classroom activities highlighted deathrelated concepts such as causality, irreversibility, finality, inevitability, and old age, using examples from nature such as seasons and how they change, the life cycle of leaves or animals and, lastly, changes people undergo as they grow and the life cycle of humans. ...
... The activities were presented through slide and puppet shows, coloring materials, self-portraits, children's books, and discussions in the form of storytelling. Children attending the death education class scored higher on all five categories of the death concept (i.e., causality, old age, irreversibility, finality, and inevitability) compared to those who were not exposed to any of the death education activities (Lee et al., 2009). A study conducted in Cyprus followed different format. ...
Article
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Death is a challenging topic to discuss with children. The present study explored children's understanding of death and dying using a phenomenological inquiry design. A sample of eight Filipino children with previous experiences of a death of a relative in the past six months were interviewed to examine the processes underlying children's understanding of death and dying. Analysis of the interview transcripts resulted in the identification of three major categories representing children's understanding of death and dying, namely, cognitive orientation, cultural orientation, and social orientation. Findings suggest that children attribute death to old age and cessation of body functioning, Moreover, they believe that death is a matter of time and there is a spiritual component in dying. This study shed light on the importance of socio-cultural factors such as spiritual values in understanding death and dying.
... We believe that while parents and caregivers are important socialization agents with respect to death; teachers can also be important agents in this socialization process. Previous studies have shown that death education led to significantly higher understanding of death concepts, grief and grieving in children (Lee, Lee, & Moon 2009;Stylianou & Zembylas, in press). Children who participated in an educational intervention about death also felt less anxious to talk about death (Stylianou & Zembylas, in press). ...
... In addition, bereaved children themselves emphasize the role of a supportive teacher upon their return to school, when it is important for them to have a teacher who talks with them openly about the loss and who shows an understanding for their experience (Holland, 2008;Lytje, in press). Teachers, on the other hand, often feel that they lack the necessary knowledge and skills to support a grieving child (Dyregrov, Dyregrov, & Idsoe, 2013;Holland, 2003;Papadatou, Metallinou, Hatzichristou, & Pavlidi, 2002), and often feel uncomfortable in discussions about death with children (Lee et al., 2009;McGovern & Barry, 2000). Therefore, it is important to provide teachers with training in death and bereavement education so that they are better prepared to talk to children about this topic. ...
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Using a mixed-methods approach, we examined how participants’ memories of socialization regarding death might influence their self-reported coping with losses in childhood and adulthood. We recruited 318 adults to complete an online survey. Path analyses indicated that participants who remembered their parents shielding them less from issues related to death reported better coping as children and adults. Qualitative responses suggested participants wanted to receive more information about death from their parents as they went through the grieving process. We highlight the potential benefits of socializing children about death, and how it may aid in their coping with death-related events.
... Empirical evidence considering the impact of integrating grief and grieving in primary education is limited (e.g., Ayers, 2014;Wong, 2010). Lee, Lee, and Sung (2009) maintain that the concepts of grief and grieving constitute social knowledge, which can be enhanced through an appropriately designed educational intervention. In exploring children's understandings of death concepts, these authors found that children's understanding of death can be increased through a well-designed and appropriate intervention. ...
... First, the intervention helped children better define the emotional responses to loss; at the beginning, children's perceptions about grief and grieving were unstructured and narrow, and most children had difficulties defining these concepts. However, when children were given the opportunity to explore grief and grieving through a structured unit that spanned over some time, they were able to enrich their understandings of these concepts (see also Leaman, 1995;Lee et al., 2009). Second, the pedagogical approach of the teacher seemed to be effective in helping children overcome some of their anxiety to talk about grief and grieving. ...
Article
This article presents an action research study that explores how a fifth-grade classroom of 10- to 11-year-old children in Cyprus perceive the concepts of grief and grieving, after an educational intervention provided space for discussing such issues. It also explores the impact that the intervention program had on children’s emotions while exploring these concepts and illustrates how it affected their behavior. The findings suggest that the intervention had a constructive impact on children’s understandings of grief and grieving along two important dimensions. First, the intervention helped children better define emotional responses to loss (grief). Second, children seemed to overcome their anxiety while talking about grief and grieving and were able to share relevant personal experiences. The study has important implications for curriculum development, pedagogical practice, and teacher training on death education.
... Clinical psychologists and bereavement experts emphasize the importance of talking to children about death from an early age in an honest and informative way, and to portray death as a natural part of the life cycle (e.g. [36][37][38]). These same sources express concern that many parents do not discuss death in depth with their children until the issue is forced by the rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org Phil. ...
... Death education should be frank and honest, but it does not have to be head-on. Research shows that understanding life and understanding death are intertwined; so providing children with biological information about the life cycle and how the body works may have a positive influence on their understanding of death [12,38]. ...
Article
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In the last century, decreases in infant and child mortality, urbanization and increases in healthcare efficacy have reduced children's personal exposure to death and dying. So how do children acquire accurate conceptions of death in this context? In this paper, we discuss three sources of children's learning about death and dying, namely, direct experience of death, parental communication about death and portrayals of death in the media and the arts. We conclude with recommendations about how best to teach modern children about this aspect of life. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Evolutionary thanatology: impacts of the dead on the living in humans and other animals’.
... Though previous studies show a range of cognitions around death in children of this age (Hoffman & Strauss, 1985;Lansdown & Benjamin, 1985;Lee, Lee, & Moon, 2009), most children interviewed in this study understood death as a biological process. For causation, cessation, and irreversibility, children were significantly more correct than caregivers expected, and girls were more correct on applicability. ...
Article
Communication about death is often a sensitive topic in families with children. The present studied compared answers of 141 school children aged 5-7 to questions about death, and their caregivers' predictions. Children were interviewed, and caregivers answered on paper, questions on inevitability, applicability, irreversibility, cessation, causation, and personal mortality. For causation, cessation, and irreversibility, children were significantly more correct than caregivers expected, and girls were more correct on applicability. Communicating with children about death may not always be as caregivers expect.
... Some superhero cartoons foster the concept that death is somehow reversible (Lamers 2000). Lee, Lee, and Moon (2009) argue that it is essential that parents and teachers need to comprehend how children of different ages understand death. ...
Article
THIS PAPER INVESTIGATES YOUNG children's understanding of death. Research on this topic among preschool children is limited, especially in the context of Chinese culture. A total of 26 young children aged five to six years, drawn from two classes at a preschool in Hong Kong, participated in the study. In documenting children's views on death, this study contributes to an understanding of death education in a preschool context, and explores possible ways of helping children to cope with the associated emotions. Through the use of open-ended measures, the children were asked to describe their experiences and views related to death. The children's conceptions could be grouped into four themes: 1. causality 2. emotional reaction 3. death-related sociocultural practices 4. character status. Finally, the various factors that contribute to children's understanding of death and use of coping strategies are discussed.
... The main assumption behind this idea is for the child to be able to talk about death, loss, and bereavement as part of life. After all, the concepts of loss and bereavement constitute social knowledge, which can be enhanced through an appropriately designed educational curriculum (Lee, Lee, & Sung, 2009). ...
Article
This article investigates children’s views on providing peer support to bereaved children. The data (pre-and post-interviews and written documents) comes from an action research study of a teacher-researcher and her 16 children aged 10-11 years old. Analysis of the data shows children’s ideas on supporting a bereaved child and how this support should be provided, taking into consideration various factors such as the relationship with the bereaved and the role of memories. The paper emphasizes that children should have structured opportunities across the whole-school curriculum to learn how loss affects people’s lives in order to support themselves and others.
... Όπως οι Lee et al. (2009) εύστοχα θέτουν, οι έννοιες της απώλειας και του πένθους αποτελούν μια γνώση κοινωνική, η οποία μπορεί να ενισχυθεί μέσα από την εκπαίδευση. Η δυσκολία που παρουσιάζεται και η οποία σχετίζεται άμεσα με το ταμπού που τις περιβάλλει, είναι να βρεθούν τα κατάλληλα εγχειρίδια, αλλά και οι πρόθυμοι και κατάλληλα καταρτισμένοι εκπαιδευτικοί να διδάξουν τις έννοιες αυτές (Bregman, 2008). ...
Article
Στην παρούσα εργασία, συζητείται η σημασία και ο τρόπος καλλιέργειας δεξιοτήτων άτυπου συλλογισμού (Informal Reasoning), στη βάση της θεωρίας της διττής συλλογιστικής διεργασίας (dual process theory), με στόχο την αποδόμηση στερεοτύπων και προκαταλήψεων. Στην αρχή της εργασίας, ορίζεται η έννοια του άτυπου συλλογισμού και επιχειρείται η ερμηνεία του γνωστικού μηχανισμού που ενεργοποιείται στο πλαίσιο της λειτουργίας του συγκεκριμένου τρόπου σκέψης, με βάση τη θεωρία της διττής συλλογιστικής διεργασίας. Συζητείται, επίσης, η σχέση του άτυπου συλλογισμού με τα στερεότυπα και τις προκαταλήψεις του κάθε ατόμου, και τεκμηριώνεται θεωρητικά το πώς η ανάπτυξη δεξιοτήτων άτυπου συλλογισμού μπορεί να συνεισφέρει στην αποδόμηση ή μείωση των στερεοτυπικών πιστεύω και των προκαταλήψεων των μανθανόντων. Επιπλέον, με βάση το σχετικό θεωρητικό υπόβαθρο, παρουσιάζεται ένα παράδειγμα μαθησιακού περιβάλλοντος από το μάθημα της Βιολογίας της Α΄ Λυκείου, το οποίο στοχεύει στην αποδόμηση στερεοτύπων και προκαταλήψεων μέσω της προώθησης δεξιοτήτων άτυπου συλλογισμού.
... Some superhero cartoons foster the concept that death is somehow reversible (Lamers 2000). Lee, Lee, and Moon (2009) argue that it is essential that parents and teachers need to comprehend how children of different ages understand death. ...
Article
Children could internalise blame for a death, suffer as much grief as adults, and express as much emotion as adults. Research on young children’s perceptions of death has been conducted primarily in Western cultures. This paper is an exploration of Chinese 5-year-olds’ understanding of death. Data analyses are mainly based on children’s drawings and their description of the drawings. Children’s drawings of issues related to death were analysed using the phenomenographic method to identify content-specific categories. It is shown through this study that Chinese 5-year-olds have an initial understanding of the biological, psychological, and metaphysical concepts of death. Findings of the current study highlight the importance of paying more attention to the impact of cultural practices and religion on children’s understanding of death.
... Ashpole specified the need for schools to take a pro-active stance if they want to support children more effectively when they experience a significant loss. Research studies have revealed that a pro-active death education has led to a much better understanding of the meaning of death and grieving (Lee et al., 2009). Children who participated in an educational intervention which dealt with the subjects of loss and grief reported feeling less anxiety when discussing death (Stylianou & Zembylas, 2018a) and became more prepared to support grieving peers (Stylianou & Zembylas, 2018b). ...
Article
The purpose of this article is to analyze elementary school teachers' perceptions and affective experiences of an in-service training on death education taught by the first author over three years at the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute. The teacher training focused on how to teach about issues of death, loss, and grief at the elementary school. The article examines what drives teachers to participate in the training and describes their concerns and dilemmas of engaging with issues of death, loss, and grief in their teaching. The study, which is based on an action research methodology, also explores teachers' reflections on their pedagogical efforts to design and implement a lesson plan in which issues of death, loss, and grief are included. The analysis addresses a gap in teacher professional development in social studies education engaging with issues of death, loss, and grief and discusses implications for teaching and teacher education.
... en la pedagogía de la muerte (Acinas yRamos, 2009;Herrán y Cortina, 2006;Lee, Lee y Moon, 2009).Con respecto al alumnado participante en el estudio, se ha podido comprobar cómo este se mostró, en un inicio, reacio e incómodo al tratar de modo directo el tema de la muerte.Sin embargo, una vez realizada la intervención a través de los recursos didácticos mencionados, los estudiantes fueron capaces de manifestar su preocupación, conocimientos y creencias sobre la muerte. Además, los resultados obtenidos de las cuestiones formuladas en relación con las obras trabajadas muestran las diferentes lecturas e interpretaciones que realiza el alumnado en función de su competencia lectora (por extensión, receptiva), donde se incluye su experiencia y conocimiento previo acerca de los temas surgidos, dependiente por tanto del concepto de intertexto acuñado porMendoza (2001), definido por este como el espacio de encuentro de las aportaciones del texto (literario, cinematográfico o musical, en esta investigación) con las del receptor.La investigación ha permitido constatar que los estudiantes son capaces de hablar del tema de la muerte abiertamente cuando los referentes ligados a dicho concepto son personajes de ficción, que permiten la comprensión de la situación desde el distanciamiento que otorga un álbum ilustrado, una película y una canción, como se confirma en otros trabajos(González y Herrán, 2010). ...
Chapter
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Resulta conveniente incluir la pedagogía de la muerte en el contexto escolar, con el fin de poder comprender dicha realidad y regular las emociones derivadas de ella. El empleo de la literatura, el cine y la música, como recursos didácticos, promueven la implicación del alumnado en la reflexión sobre las cuestiones tratadas, además de que permiten en la ficción el distanciamiento necesario que requiere el receptor para comprender y poder afrontar el tema de la pérdida. El objetivo de la investigación se dirige a desarrollar, explicar y analizar el concepto de muerte en el alumnado de Educación Primaria a través de una intervención didáctica interdisciplinar. El diseño metodológico responde a una investigación evaluativa de corte cualitativo. Ha participado el alumnado de 3.o de Educación Primaria, con el que se ha llevado a cabo una intervención didáctica de seis sesiones de duración centrada en la comprensión del concepto de muerte a través de la literatura, el cine de animación y la música. Se ha elaborado como instrumento una ficha didáctica dirigida a analizar la comprensión e interpretación de los textos artísticos trabajados en la intervención didáctica. Se realiza un análisis de contenido semántico a través de un procedimiento basado en la reducción del conjunto de datos, que conlleva la categorización de la información en un número de unidades manejable. Los resultados muestran el modo en el que el alumnado manifiesta su preocupación, conocimientos y creencias sobre la muerte. Finalmente, la investigación ha permitido aprovechar la capacidad comunicativa de las creaciones literaria, cinematográfica y musical para hablar de la muerte con normalidad, al mismo tiempo que ha posibilitado entender y valorar la pérdida en nuestra sociedad e intervenir en la prevención de una adecuada gestión del duelo.
... Obeying the principles of death education (Adams et al., 1999;McNeil, 1982;Worden, 2018)-not using false expressions in death education and not communicating the wrong attitudes and behaviors-is also valid when talking about the afterlife or providing regular education about it. According to research on death education, the general opinion is that this education should start in the preschool period or earlier (Lee et al., 2009;Powell, 1994). So, at what age should children receive information about the afterlife through death education? ...
Article
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This study examined drawings of children’s concepts of paradise categorized by age, gender, and religious-cultural differences. Participants were Sunni Turkish Muslim children born in France and who attend Islamic religious education at France's Strasbourg Yunus Emre Mosque on weekends. Three superordinate and 14 subordinate qualitative categories were formed from the children’s drawings analyzed by the phenomenographic method. Although concrete descriptions of heaven were seen in the drawings by children of all ages, abstract depictions increased with age. Whereas drawings of heaven by girls depicted love and compassion, boys’ drawings represented power. Although there are commonalities between the descriptions by children of Muslim background and children from other religious backgrounds and cultures, the children’s particular religious and cultural structures were reflected in their representations of paradise. Recommendations from this study are given for the nature of the education children receive regarding death and heaven and hell.
Chapter
The death of a dog in the context of family offers valuable learning opportunities for children in the areas of end-of-life care, death and/or loss, and grief and bereavement. However, in order to maximize the opportunities presented, adults must engage thoughtfully in the process. Death, dying, and grief are not areas in which most develop expertise, and so families may need assistance in understanding the significance of a dog’s death, and the opportunities for growth and learning that are presented by the event. In this chapter, we will examine each of those areas (end-of-life care, death and/or loss, and grief and bereavement) as it relates to the death of a dog, and identify the implications for children and families.
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Using Bakhtin's notion of polyphony, this study explored the discussion of the end-of-life issues in the Course on Life and Death Education in one Chinese university. Ethnographic methods were adopted to investigate the collision between the classroom voices and the voices of the mainstream culture on end-of-life in the process of developing students' attitudes toward death. The findings revealed that “to understand death” involved challenging the voice of “strangeness and fear of death”; “honestly facing up to and accepting the feelings of the fear, pain, and helplessness” was the response to “be brave”; and the goal “to die peacefully” resisted the notion of “extending life at any cost.” Through the collision between these voices, students developed their attitudes toward death in facing, understanding, accepting, and choosing how to die. The analysis further revealed that providing only one “answer” to death by the teacher is not sufficient or effective to foster students' attitudes toward death because the students are a diverse group holding different views on the end-of-life issues, which demonstrated the importance of creating dialogues in the life and death education.
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Comprehensive in scope and definitive in authority, this second edition has been thoroughly updated to cover new practices, current epidemiological data and the evolving models that support the delivery of palliative medicine to children. it is is an essential resource for anyone who works with children worldwide.
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Providing an overview of the myriad ways that we are touched by death and dying, both as an individual and as a member of society, this book will help readers understand our relationship with death. Kastenbaum and Moreman show how various ways that individual and societal attitudes influence both how and when we die and how we live and deal with the knowledge of death and loss. This landmark text draws on contributions from the social and behavioral sciences as well as the humanities, such as history, religion, philosophy, literature, and the arts, to provide thorough coverage of understanding death and the dying process. Death, Society, and Human Experience was originally written by Robert Kastenbaum, a renowned scholar who developed one of the world's first death education courses. Christopher Moreman, who has worked in the field of death studies for almost two decades specializing in afterlife beliefs and experiences, has updated this edition.
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The study compared two death education programs for mothers ( N = 90) of young children. Pre- and post-test scores on the State-Anxiety Scale and researcher-designed instruments that included the Children's Questions About Death Scale (CQADS) and Future Plans Inventory (FPI) were compared. Mothers in both the Didactic and Didactic-Experiential programs scored significantly higher than the Control group in their level of effectiveness in responding to children's questions, but the two treatment groups did not significantly differ from each other. Neither the Didactic Death Education nor the Didactic-Experiential Death Education programs significantly affected mothers' anxiety before responding to children's questions about death. Post hoc analyses suggested trends relating subject characteristics to mother's level of effectiveness in responding to a child's questions about death.
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The television viewing habits and perceptions of television violence and death of 712 academically heterogeneous students, grades 6 through 12, from three urban and three rural schools in north Florida were surveyed using a TV questionnaire revised from a prior study. The survey indicated that adolescents enjoy watching violent TV programs but are ambivalent about allowing younger children to watch them, and that two fifths of the deaths occurring on the adolescents' favorite programs were violent. Three fifths of the adolescents reported that death is “often or always” on the news and almost three fourths reported that death in the news is violent. While many of them believe that violence on television is true to life and hence educational, they typically vastly overestimated the number of murders that actually occur in a society. Most of the adolescents preferred not to discuss death with either parents or peers. Some form of death education to alleviate or lessen death-related fears is indicated. Further research to determine causal relationships, if any, between television viewing of violent death and young viewers' death-related feelings and behaviors is recommended.
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This study examined 96 women early childhood educators' death anxiety and their comfort in discussing death with preschool children. Ninety percent believed it was important to be able to discuss death with young children, but only 32 percent felt prepared to do so. liachers' death anxiety scores were significantly correlated with comfort with dealing with death in the classroom (R = .30). Death anxiety was significantly related to teachers' training in children's understanding of death. No other academic or personal experience factors were significantly related to death anxiety or comfort. However, there was an overall pattern for anxiety and comfort scores to be higher for subjects with the greatest academic and personal experiences in death and dying. Suggestions for teacher education and future investigations are presented.
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Examined 96 early childhood educators' level of comfort in discussing death with young children both as a formal learning experience and as it naturally occurs. While over 80% of the teachers consider death education important, most felt academically unprepared to deal with it. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This book presents a new theory and shows parents and professionals (teachers, counselors, social workers, psychologists, medical doctors and nurses) why and how to help young children understand and cope with death. All children who must deal with death are at risk of emotional and behavioral disturbances at the time of loss in the future. They need help by adults in the cognitive and the emotional domain; therefore adults should not wait to see if the child can adequately cope on his own. The book will enable adults to develop knowledge, attitudes and skills that will guide their intervention. It will also develop their sensitivity to the special needs and problems that confront children aged 4-12, faced with crisis related to death in their community, school, hospital and family. The theoretical and the practical aspects of the book are based on research and experiments conducted in Israel, in the U.S. and in other countries, and on the clinical experience of the author with children with crisis. The book also includes a new valid and reliable questionnaire, "The Examination of Human and Animal Death Conceptualization of Children ages 4-12," a description of its psychometric characteristics and instructions for administration and scoring. The questionnaire is a relatively simple instrument, in both administration and scoring. It enables a quantitative and qualitative diagnosis necessary to discern those areas in which the child needs intervention and help. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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highlights the major research findings on children's understanding of death and discusses some of the principal theoretical and methodological issues / reviews the key components of the concept of death, discusses the definition and validity of the presumed mature adult concept, and, finally, reviews the major variables that have been studied in relation to the development of the concept / 1st, however, we shall look at the methodologies used to measure children's understanding of death (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The young child's immature understanding of the concepts related to death serves to heighten anxiety about death and interferes with successful adjustment to loss. This study was a randomized trial of the efficacy of a 3-week school-based educational program in the promotion of the concepts of death in 4- to 8-year-old children (prekindergarten through second grade). The Smilansky Death Concept Questionnaire, a validated and published structured interview, was administered pre- and postintervention phase to all study participants (N = 184). The experimental group received three interventions: (1) a series of six 30 to 45-minute presentations about concepts of death, (2) teacher educational presentation, and (3) parent educational presentation. Significant mean gains were noted for the experimental group as compared to the control group in the total death concept score, the total score for human death, the total score for animal death, and two of the four factors studied, that of causality and that of inevitability and old age. The gain in total death concept score as a result of the 3-week educational program was equivalent to the amount of conceptual development that is seen in one year in the absence of intervention.
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Children's literature provides an appropriate tool for addressing concepts of death education. This study examined how death is presented in literature for children ages three-eight. A review of literature and Holsti's formula for intercoder reliability were used to develop a data collection instrument. Children's books with death themes were identified, and a content analysis recording frequencies for 39 items was performed on 65 books available for the study. A profile of the typical children's book with death themes was developed. The profile is discussed in terms of positive and negative presentations of death and being developmentally appropriate for young children. Based on results from the study, death themes are presented in a positive, realistic way that promote healthy development. Because of its positive presentations, children's literature is recommended as a teaching tool for death education.
Article
Young mothers' death-communication style and content patterns were determined by use of a simulation device in which a child's recorded voice posed questions or expressed reactions to a death situation. Eight different situations were constructed, depicting two each of four common reactions of children to a type of death occurrence (fear, curiosity, anger, fantasy/denial). Interviews were conducted with 100 mothers of young children who also responded spontaneously to each of the eight situations just as they might respond to their own children. Judges were able to place the women's recorded responses into both content and style categories. Content patterns were inconsistent; style (relationship) classifications appeared to be most consistent, with subjects falling into four predetermined style patterns (open-warm, open-cool, closed-warm, closed-cool) and one mixed category. Parents' reaction differences appeared only in the more ego-involving situations in which the child displayed some emotions, whereas a majority of mothers responded similarly to the "developmental curiosity" of the child. Background and personality factors relating to communication styles were investigated; factors labeled "commitment to education" and "resistance to emotional discussion" discriminated most clearly among the five style groups. combined groups (open versus closed, warm versus cool) also revealed significant differences. Implications for parent education and for further research are discussed.
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