ERIC Number: ED289086
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Lifespan Attitudes toward Death.
Walker, Gail; Maiden, Robert
To more fully understand how attitudes toward death and dying develop and change across the lifespan, 90 male and female subjects between the ages of 2 and 18 years and 90 male and female subjects between the ages of 18 and 97 were administered questionnaires and interviews about dying. The results revealed that children's attitudes were influenced by variables such as level of cognitive development, experience with death, socialization, and instruction. Young children reported an imaginative range of views about forms of possible afterlife. Adolescents included recognition of environmental, ecological, and psychological causes of death and were concerned about the effects of personal death on family members and friends. Adolescent views of an afterlife reflected traditional socialization. Attitudes of adults were influenced by variables such as gender differences, environmental factors, generational differences, experience with death, aging, and interaction effects. Widows and widowers who had developed individual survival skills, psychological coping strategies, and extended social support networks reported less distress than did unprepared subjects following the death of a spouse. While aging or maturation alone appeared to be systematically unrelated to overt death anxiety, adults did seem to maintain an ambiguous attitude regarding death throughout the lifespan. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (Arlington, VA, April 9-12, 1987).