ERIC Number: ED257575
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Concepts of Health and Sickness of Preschool and School Aged Children.
An investigation was made of children's factual knowledge of health-related concepts and the cognitive implications of their answers to questionnaire items such as "What makes a person sick?", "What is medicine?", and "Do you know what a germ is?" Participants were 80 healthy children between approximately 3 and 15 years of age. An additional 61 children were asked to draw pictures of germs. Results indicate that developmental changes in concepts of health and sickness as expressed in the interviews and drawings are basically consistent with developments reported in other studies of health-related concepts. Children above preschool age tended to be less egocentric and magical in accounts of illness and to use standard medical and cultural explanations of colds, germs, and illness. Results neither affirm nor deny that operational logic is found in children's thinking about health and illness, but suggest that more intensive interviews presenting situations of complex, contrasting variables would be necessary before these forms of logic could be identified. The present study does support previous research in finding that younger children tend to have external, egocentric ideas about illness and that concepts of illness as internal processes come later. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 25-28, 1985).